Using Social Media to Enhance Employability

I’m really excited as tomorrow I’m going to be spending the morning with students at Exeter University, talking about Social Media and how it can help their job prospects. We all know its a tough world out there right now and getting a job is a lot harder than when I left the same University, 12 years ago.

I’m excited because when I was there, I didn’t have any of the tools available to these guys to help my search for work. Those who want to give themselves a head start in life really do have a fantastic opportunity to do so.

So here are my top tips to any student looking to use Social Media to enhance their employability potential.

1). Without wanting to start on a negative note, the first place to start is understanding privacy settings and what employers these days use the web for – Googling your name. Have you Googled your name (that’s mine by the way) to see what turns up? Have you checked to see what information people can turn up on you on Facebook without being logged in, or through a profile that is not friends with yours? If not, I suggest you do, because rightly or wrongly prospective employers will be doing so.

2). Right lets get positive now. If I could give one piece of advice to a prospective employee it would be to start blogging. How many CV’s do you think every job you go for is going to attract? How many of them link to a blog which shows off their knowledge, thoughts & personality? Not many I bet you. So here’s your number 1 chance to stand out. With tools like WordPress so easy to use (and free), you can start a blog today, while you’re at Uni and demonstrate to future employers 1000 times more about you, than you can on your CV.

3). Start listening & learning. Use tools like Twitter to start searches for people tweeting in the area you’re looking to get work. Build up a picture of who is about and begin to engage with them. Getting to know a prospective employer before you’ve even applied for a job could just give you the edge you need when it comes to interview time.

4). More Learning. Really?!? Yup ‘fraid so. The workplace is very different to Uni life. Find industry experts and influencers in your field of choice and follow them on sites like Twitter. Learn from them, create your own posts about the things they say on your newly formed blog. Find the thought leaders out there and start to build up real world knowledge of what business is really going to be like.

As an aside, if you’re into Business & Marketing here are a few great people/companies to start with:

Chris Brogan
, Seth Godin
, UnMarketing
Mashable & Econsultancy

5). Make LinkedIn your corporate network. In the business world many of us use LinkedIn as our corporate network. We keep personal stuff to Facebook so that’s not much use to connect with us on. Twitter is more difficult to build close connections on quickly, it takes time. Start to add people you meet at job fairs/events/shows/out networking and build your numbers. Know people in the local business community (family/friends etc)? Add them too. Numbers lead to leverage in LinkedIn and as you take your profile wherever you go in your working life, you should start to see this as one of your most valuable assets.

6). Be Proactive – When I’m looking to recruit, I want someone that stands out. I want someone that makes the effort to go the extra mile. I want someone that doesn’t just send me in a CV and hope for the best. Recruitment is expensive for us company owners. You can not only save us money but show you’re different by finding me on LinkedIn and sending me your details. Ensure to tell me not just about your skill set, but why you want to work for me, what you can bring to my company and why you’re different. You’ll be ahead of 95% of other candidates already and if you’ve done everything else I’ve said above I may not even bother seeing anyone else!

Guys, if I were looking for a job now I’d be really enthused by all the ways I can make myself stand out. The question is….are you?

Now Your Thoughts

  • Have you got any more tips for the stars of the future?

Go and Fail….Now

Go and Fail….Now

We all make mistakes – it’s how we learn.

It regularly surprises me that so many people seem afraid to fail.

When I talk to people about blogging (and often, this is in order to convince them to try it), one of the things I hear a lot is that they are worried about writing something that’s incorrect or that other people might not agree with. WOW, I’ve never thought that when writing these blog pieces. This is an alien concept to me but seeing as though so many people say it, I thought it was worth giving some time to in this post.

I often get a similar reaction when talking to people about how I started my business at 19, straight out of University. They say things like: ‘I could never have done that’, or ‘you’re very brave doing that’ Well the truth is I never even questioned it – not once. Failure was not an option – I was going to throw everything I had at my business in order to see it succeed.

You probably won’t remember back to when you were one, but around that time you probably learnt to walk. Did it happen straight away? Did you bounce up one day from crawling, onto two feet and proudly walk around? I’ll tell you now, you didn’t! You probably had a few goes and quite a few falls – some really hurt. You failed a number of times but you persisted and then, one day, you were finally able to walk :)

Richard Branson, in his book ‘Business Stripped Bare’ (aff link) gives another good example of this in the music world (one he knows pretty well :)). Listen to a musician learning to play a new song. They try and try again before getting it right, they fail hundreds of times, it’s just part of the process.

It seems to me, that as we are growing up we’re more prepared to fail in order to learn. What happens when we become adults? Why do some many people become afraid to step out of line and do something a bit different?

I think this separates the true Entrepreneurs – they don’t have this worry about failure, it’s just part of the process.

So here’s the thing, if you don’t push your boundaries, if you don’t try new things with a preparation for getting it wrong, then you’re not going to get anywhere new. Entrepreneurs are awesome at this – they don’t question failure, it’s part of their makeup. They pick themselves up after a fall, dust themselves off and learn from it.

Through life, you’d be extremely lucky if everything you do works out exactly as planned, every decision you make ends up being the right one – it rarely happens.

So get stuck in – don’t question the what might be’s – try and find out for yourself….today

Do you worry about failure or do you just jump on in? I’m really interested to know your views on this.

Secrets for Super Successful Business Owners – Nigel Botterill

Secrets for Super Successful Business Owners – Nigel Botterill

On Wednesday night I had the privilege of watching Nigel Botterill, UK Entrepreneur and CEO of thebestof Franchise group present to 100 businesses in my hometown of Exeter. The tour of the country is called “18 Secrets that Super Successful Business Owners Know and Do…” – you can follow the conversation about the tour on the hashtag we created with thebestofexeter at #18secrets.

I’ve met Nigel a couple of times now but this time I was lucky enough to get an hour with him before the big event, discussing ideas and thoughts on business. I’ve written before about how important it is to ditch the negative people in your life and surround yourself with positivity and success – When you chat to someone successful like Nigel you can’t help but be lifted and ideas immediately start to flow – I was at the venue at 5ish and didn’t leave until 9:30pm – it felt like about an hour!

Now i’m not going to simply copy and paste Nigel’s points – that wouldn’t be cricket. However, from the 18 secrets, I’m going to share my big 3 takeaways from the night.

1). “Making the jump from ordinary income to big income business means you need to make the jump from ‘doer’ of the business to ‘marketer’ of the business.” How true – if you’re stuck in the business doing the work on a daily basis, how can you be out promoting it and taking it to the next level? I’ve focused on this quite a lot in my own business in the last year and we’ve certainly reaped the rewards. I’ve built a great team around me who are able to deliver the product, while I market the business. A friend of mine (Richard Carpenter) uses the analogy of driving a car being like running a business: You start by driving the car yourself, taking it in whichever direction you want. The key is to move yourself from the front seat to the back seat and be driven around while you simply direct where you want to go. :) Although I’m being a bit sneaky by putting two tips into one, Nigel also pointed out that we should all concentrate on our marketing first thing in the morning (pref before anyone else gets into work) – a great piece of advice in my opinion and something I’m going to try and focus on over the next few months.

2). Your most valuable asset in business is your database! Your database is critical to your success if you’re going to make it big. Build it at every opportunity, get in contact with your customers regularly, send them something, make them an offer, give them a reason for coming over or for you to go and see them. There are loads of studies about how much easier it is to sell to your current client base than a new one yet many of us get caught in the trap of trying to pour more and more in the top of our funnels while not looking after the people who have already shown they trust us and are willing to spend their hard-earned with us! Absurd when you think about it! Your database makes it easy to keep in contact – go back and work out a plan for it today. (*If it’s email marketing then get in touch with my team at Optix because they offer an amazing service there – plug over*) I particularly loved this sentence from the presentation:

“It’s not your customer’s job to remember to do business with you….it’s your job to remind them”

3). Commit to learning. No successful businessperson got to where they are sitting on their backside watching TV. Many of these people are continually learning, all day everyday. They have huge libraries of business books, they are like sponges for information. Are you? Do you go home and put the TV on or do you read a business book and learn something new about your industry, competitors or other successful people? This last year I’ve spent time building my library of books, especially in the areas of business success and sales. Here are a few that I’ve read recently which I’d recommend hugely (affiliate links):

The Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness

Think & Grow Rich

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

What Would Google Do?

Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to Find, Build and Keep a Yes! Attitude for a Lifetime of Success

Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships

And thanks to a friend Julian Summerhayes who kindly gave me the following book which I can’t wait to read this week:

The Go-giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

By the way, here’s the great news for any of you who hate reading (I actually fall into that bracket myself believe it or not) – Check out http://www.audible.co.uk/ – A great site which you can subscribe to and download new audio books/mp3s to your ipod/iphone/mp3 player and catchup with all the great stuff above while on the move :)

So those were the three big take aways from my night at 18secrets – do you agree with these? Do you have some killer tips to share? Let’s discuss…

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