So you probably have Twitter. Maybe you even tweet occasionally, have a reasonable bio and know your way around a hashtag. But I’m willing to bet that there’s more you could be doing to secure the graduate job you want.
Social media is often taken for granted, reserved as a space for procrastination and the odd cat picture (guilty). We all know that Facebook is the personal platform and LinkedIn the professional one. Yet many forget Twitter as the beautiful amalgam in between that’s been maturing, growing and developing for a massive 10 years now – just in time to help you get your dream graduate job.
But it’s not enough just to have Twitter, you need to learn how to use it if you’re serious about using social media to get on the career ladder, whatever industry you’re interested in. In this blog, I’ll outline the 10 ways you can go from a Twitter rookie to a Tweet master supreme, and put yourself in the best possible position to find and secure your perfect graduate job.
1. Follow with purpose
I’m not going to patronise you with this point. Following is an important part of Twitter. But it’s not as simple as follow and hope. First things first, you need to follow graduate job sites. But beyond this, follow the companies you would like to hire you, and (if they have them) their specific recruitment pages. Follow their employees, follow people that share your interests and passions, follow people who have the job you want. Don’t blindly follow, follow cleverly. And whilst we’re on the subjecting of following, it’s not just important to follow, but also to be followed. Whilst it shouldn’t be your primary concern, you want to work towards having at least a few hundred followers (ideally more) to give your account more credibility and authority. If a potential employer checks your Twitter out and sees 8 followers, having the account might be doing more harm than good.
2. Get organised with lists
When you’ve followed the step above, you’re likely to have an intimidating number of accounts that you follow. The best way to handle this? Lists. Create lists as a way to segment your followed accounts. You could have a list on your dream companies to work for, or accounts that post the most relevant jobs for you, as examples. Remember though that the people/companies you add to public lists will get a notification that you have done so, so don’t add anyone to a list called ‘Companies I’ll Consider If Everything Goes Wrong’ or anything similarly inappropriate.
3. Plan and schedule
Whilst you should certainly put more time into your Twitter strategy, that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the social platform all day. You still need time to actually apply for the jobs themselves! So use a tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule some tweets throughout your week. You can also use tools like this to monitor trends and send you updates if you configure your settings to do so. Do your homework and you’ll find some cool and largely free Twitter tools that will help you nail planning, monitoring and scheduling. Though it’s still valuable to spend some time on Twitter in ‘real-time’ so that you can stay up-to-date with current events and hashtags.
4. Raise your hashtag game
Love them or hate them, hashtags are an integral part of the Twittersphere, and act as keyword phrases for the platform. You can raise your game by adding the best possible hashtags to your tweets. They need to first and foremost be indicative of the tweet content, but there’s also room for creativity and even humour (if appropriate). Let’s say you were tweeting about an informative article you had just read about drones, and naturally you want to add the hashtag #drones. You could then head to hashtagify.me, type in ‘#drone’ and see which other related hashtags you could also add that are popular on Twitter at that moment. Don’t go too crazy with hashtags in your tweets though, if you’re using more than five in one tweet you’re probably going overboard. If in doubt, I’d settle for between one and three. You can also use hashtags to search for graduate jobs. Search terms could be as vague as ‘#graduate #job’ or as specific as ‘#graduate #marketing #job’. Test what works for you and write a list of hashtags that you can search each day.
5. Get tactical with your bio
Twitter bios are, as you would expect, the place to tell people about you. But more often than not they are dull or underused as a space to market yourself. Cringe-inducing ‘inspirational’ quotes or mindless character traits are regularly highlighted over more compelling attributes. Use this area to show employers your ambitions (e.g. ‘Interested in all things #Tech’ or ‘Looking for a graduate role in Finance’), but also to show some personality (e.g. ‘Roller skate champion’ or ‘Chinese food junkie’). There’s no set way to get a bio right, but if you can refer to your career ambitions whilst showing you’re a legitimate human then you’re on the right track.
6. Connect your social channels
Let’s say you have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. First of all, kudos on your social media smorgasbord, but secondly, are you connecting them all effectively? We haven’t the time here to go into each individual social platform because all of the five above are different. This means they should be used differently and treated differently. But more often than not, people take a post and spread the exact same thing across all platforms verbatim. This is lazy and looks like spam, and who wants those attributes associated with their ‘personal brand’? Even if you’re sharing the same basic content, be sure to package it uniquely for each platform. For example, you might take a more jovial, colloquial tone on Twitter where on LinkedIn you would want to be more staid. By all means, link between your various channels, but see them as siblings with common attributes, not clones of each other.
7. Join relevant twitter chats
When you’re not tweeting about exciting topics or keeping up with your favourite twitter accounts, you can join in with twitter chats, to learn and to discuss industry issues. For example, I work as a writer, so I regularly get involved with #ContentWritingChat, where fellow writers and I talk about content, marketing and copywriting, amongst a host of other intriguing things. Whatever you’re interested in, hobby or career, find relevant twitter chats and join the conversation. It shows you’re genuinely engaged and you never know, you might even learn something.
8. Have a life
This may be harder for some than others, but having personality in your twitter strategy is a must. Employers want humans, not mindless drones, so why should you act any differently online? Obviously keep your tweets and activity clean and stay safe, but a splash of life might just set you apart from other prospective applicants for a job. Maybe don’t tweet that you’ve been drunk every night this week and not showered once, but tweet about what’s happening in your world and be funny or at least lively. Personally, I enjoy playing hashtag games on Twitter alongside the more serious career-related tweets I post online, as I enjoy words and puns – but each to their own. Also, do not be afraid to be upfront about what you want. It’s ok to be a graduate job hunter and to make that information known. Ask and you may just well receive.
Panic not, you don’t need to be a technical wizard to learn a bit more about what’s going on with your Twitter efforts behind the scenes. If you go to the Analytics section of your Twitter account, you can get a look at your progress. There’s detail on who your audience is, what their interests are and how your audience base has grown per day. Plus you can see which of your tweets have done well and which have not quite received the love you thought they deserved. For the uninitiated, the number of impressions refers to an estimate of the total possible times someone could have viewed your tweet. Engagements refer to activity with your tweet, like for example, an engagement such as a like, a retweet or a profile click. There’s a lot more you can do with your Twitter analytics if you’re willing to go down the figurative rabbit hole, but in the context of graduate job hunting, it’s just a valuable tool to track your progress and analyse what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your strategy.
You’ve made it this far, so either I’m a compelling writer, you’re procrastinating massively or you’re simply passionate about using Twitter to find your perfect graduate job (potentially a mix of all three?) But if you decide to take anything from this blog, don’t take your Twitter account for granted. It might be known for stupid hashtags, cat pictures and celebrity spats, but it has the potential to land you your dream graduate job. Good luck and get tweeting!
The best people in life are nosey. People watching is a common hobby, shared by everyone from the resolute novel writer in the coffee shop to the bleary-eyed commuter on the tube. And with the meteoric popularity of movements like Humans Of New York or the Metro’s ‘60 Seconds With X’ series; hearing peoples’ stories clearly still fascinates us. What is that lady thinking? Where did she get that obscure hat? Why is that man frowning like that? Are those two people a couple or just friends? What does that person dream of at night?
I consider such questions, like countless others, over a packed lunch in my local park. It is intriguing to think about another person’s thoughts, emotions and actions. We are insatiably curious about those around us, and public spaces make the perfect spots for a bit of people watching. But recently I’ve begun to think about my local park a bit differently. As more than just the backdrop to London’s assorted players.
A good friend of mine recently qualified as a personal trainer and needed experience, so I grudgingly agreed to be one of her first clients. Whilst me gurning and sweating it out in the local park is hardly newsworthy (though each to their own), to distract myself from planking and lunging as part of our weekly sessions, I started to really notice my surroundings.
No longer were the benches objects for sitting, the yellowed central scrub of grass a place to relax, or the bordering trees attractive shade-givers. The space had transformed into a place of physical significance. The forefront feeling being pain. The benches are for hellish press-ups, the central scrub for timed run-sprints, and the trees act as check points from one ache to the next. I know every inch of this space. And since that first gruelling session, I’ve averted my focus from the people in space, to how a person uses space.
One evening I see a frantic man directing his two disenfranchised actors, using my press-up bench as their deathbed. On another, a group of dancers take turns using the scrub as their podium. The trees one day become pillars, draped haphazardly with bunting to celebrate a child’s birthday.
Intrigued by this new method of observance, I’ve taken to thinking about space as a fluid organism that can bend to human will. My days of looking for the nearest tube have been swapped for wandering without plan and deliberately getting lost. As many drunken travellers have (perhaps regrettably) had ink-emblazoned on their skin: “Not all those who wander are lost”. A clichéd mantra to follow? Yes. But my writing is better and I feel better.
All the fellow nosey, curious observers out there, I challenge you to turn your thinking on its head. Take a new route to work. Shake things up. Walk and observe. Like Baudelaire’s strolling flâneur or Will Self’s urban walker, space is designed to be explored, adapted and transmuted by us.
And here, we observe the recently hired graduatus, or in the common tongue, ‘graduate’, inspecting their new surroundings. Inquisitive, rosy-cheeked and fresh-faced, this young individual practically oozes relief. Observe his surroundings; fresh pastures, lush vegetation and vibrant flora abound. The graduate is settled, filled with purpose and excitement for days to come. But it was not always like this for our intrepid friend. Oh no. To understand this oft-misunderstood species, we must first travel back to where it all began…
The graduate as we know it came into being after the completion of the universitas magistrorum et scholarium life stage, or ‘university’. A difficult transition for any species to endure, filled with emotional and physical strife, he completes this cycle after adapting to a strict learning curve and mastering significant life challenges. The graduate revels in this achievement, and engages in riotous (and occasionally pagan) social festivities to celebrate.
Upon completion of said stage, the graduate is presented with a unique head piece as part of a traditional societal ritual, signifying dominance and mental prowess. However, it must be noted that some believe this honour diluted as the amount of head pieces adorning the graduate population increases.
Our friend spends a few months in euphoric elation with his fellow graduates, manifested in states varying from hibernation and exploration to inebriation. But, like all that is good on our beautiful earth, everything must come to an end. The graduate must return to the nest, where the promise of sustenance and shelter beckons. Comfort arrives in swathes, swaddling the graduate in warmth and tranquillity.
Though like the setting sun, elation can sour as quickly as it rises. Our friend’s serenity is pierced by rising tensions in the homeland. Pressures mount, claustrophobia takes wing, and boredom ensues.
Desperate to escape this retrogression, and following substantial familial threat, he puts time and energy into finding purpose. Seconds, minutes, hours, days and months pass. The hot sun beats down on the graduate’s neck as he trawls the endless wilderness. Hunting for occupation becomes occupation. Monotony is the only constant, perforated by fleeting bursts of hope. Hard labour becomes the norm, sanitation levels wane and time becomes one infinite day, without respite.
Yet all this hard work does not yield a strong harvest. The graduate’s efforts are rebuffed, ignored or overlooked. A creeping melancholy seeps through all. The hunger to live up to the triumphs of the rest of the pack becomes an intense burden.
As resources dwindle, the only option for the graduate is to bring home the proverbial bacon. The hunter must moonlight as gatherer. Our friend feels beneath this toil and is consumed by fatigue. But the procurement of new resources does help to mollify familial discord.
The hunt for purpose continues with haste. Slowly, more attention is gained. However, a wise elder informs the graduate that purpose can only be found once knowledge is gathered. This perplexes our friend, who does not understand how knowledge can be attained before an occupation is found.
The graduate takes to community circles to vent his growing frustration. Voices demand reasons for our friend’s purposeless existence. And once again, paternal disquiet rears its unsolicited head.
A compromise is found in the form of a local sympathiser, who allows our friend to shadow his daily tasks within the pack. The graduate learns much from this, but receives no reward for his labours.
Instilled with a fresh spurt of determination, however, he applies himself as he never has before. His days become more productive, if occasionally peppered with existential crises and rejection. Like the patient housecat stalking its prey, perseverance and grit triumph. After months of virtual silence, everyone is suddenly interested in the young graduate. Old friends and new crawl from their respective woodworks and offer their support and intellect. Before long, he has several meetings set up to discuss his occupation hunt. The meetings go well.
But the competition is brutally fierce, and rejection once again presides. Every graduate must fend for himself in this fight to win. Friends become rivals, rivals become enemies, and long does the war reign supreme. But our graduate is a warrior. He has not fought this hard for this long to be usurped by someone lacking his skill.
More trawling, more hunting, more meetings with those from lands far and wide. Toil and sweat envelop our fighter. He is determination itself. But soft… what light through yonder cloud breaks?
One meeting leads to another and suddenly he is shaking hands with the leader of the tribe. And in an instant as brief and hauntingly exquisite as the flicker of a butterfly’s wings, our graduate grasps glory in his fated hands. He has found purpose. Victory has never meant this much to another. Tears fall, limbs relax and relief sighs. Our planet is an exquisite land, encompassing life in its most barren of corners. And the graduate, in all his extraordinary, resolute majesty, has found his place in it.
There have been some fantastic films out in the past year (let’s just ignore The Legend of Hercules). And being the nerdy English graduate that I am and with the year soon drawing to a close, I fancied writing some haiku about some of the most memorable. So I did. Why haiku you ask? Why not!
Media frenzy, two sides
Torn apart, who left?
Dust, space, surf’s up, cool
Murphy’s law, there is a chance
Trust none, time will tell
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
J-Law kicking ass
District destroyed, angst galore
Will Peter return?
The Maze Runner
Shut in square, no reason
Leaders, runners, then a girl!
Fear, escape, next phase
22 Jump Street
Bromance, cars, self-mocking fun
Same as the last
Wicked fairy horns
Young love gone bad, all suffer Aurora is key
Drug mule mystery
Unlocked mind, full potential
Never do drugs, kids
Hunger games rip-off
Dystopian, angsty, bleak
Bland teenage saga
Not many recent graduates (in fact NONE as far as I’m aware), can say that they’ve held down a series of part-time jobs, completed a degree, had an active social life AND successfully trained to become a professional female jockey of all things by the tender age of 21. No one, that is, apart from the tenacious and trailblazing Lizzie Kelly. Fresh from her impressive win on Aubusson in the Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, I spoke to Lizzie about graduate life, competing with ‘the lads’ and what’s next on the cards in the world of racing.
Which university did you go to and how did you find the overall student experience?
I went to the University of Winchester. I enjoyed it as I could participate in as much or as little as I wanted, which for me was a big benefit! Horses have always been a massive part of my life and I was able to continue that passion at uni. That was really important for my career and has ultimately enabled me to become a professional jockey upon leaving.
Do you embrace your recent graduate status or do you pine for your student days?
I am lucky enough to have my dream job, but of course there are things I miss about university. Mainly my friends and the freedom that we had to do whatever we wanted the majority of the time. Being a student was great and it definitely gave me time to do things like head off to Ireland which I did in the amazingly long summer holidays.
Can you explain what it means to be a professional jockey and how you got into the role?
I’ve been dreaming about being a jockey since I was a kid, it’s a huge deal for me. I’m only at the beginning stages now, and I’ve got a very long way to go before I am where I want to be. It feels like a big achievement, especially as it’s not very common for a female to be a jockey. It’s all come about as a result of my parents training racehorses, but I did have various career options, and I always thought I would work in racing but from the angle of marketing or racecourse events. At the moment, however, riding racehorses is where my heart lies and I will pursue this for the foreseeable future.
How rare actually is it be a professional female jockey?
It’s very rare! There are about 6 of us. I don’t see myself as any different from the lads, but of course there are differences. The most difficult part for me is being in the ladies changing room as it is almost always empty! It can get boring and on bigger days can have an awful atmosphere. However, because I am a girl, I do seem to get a lot of media attention which will hopefully help me out a bit!
Tell me all about your latest win (oh and WELL DONE by the way!)
Thank you! I’m not sure what to say really. I was able to get a lift up to Haydock with a couple of friends, Conor O’Farrell and Tom Bellamy, as we were all riding in the same race. On the way up I marked the card, which basically means that I looked through the horses’ previous positioning and looked at any that I thought were going to be running well. Aubusson is probably the easiest horse to deal with that I’ve come across, so riding him is a relaxing affair. Of course though, this race was the Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle, so the pressure was on. This is the biggest race I have won so far in my career. It was a great day and actually the first winner I’ve properly celebrated! It is a better feeling than anything else I’ve achieved in my entire life. It’s the pinnacle of everything I’ve worked for for the last four years!
I know you’re keeping an eye out for sponsorship, what are you looking for in a sponsor?
Yes I am! It’s not a vital part of my career right now though so I’m able to take my time over it. Ideally I will find a sponsor with a fashion or media element as I can see that being a good option for me later on. I’m massively interested in fashion, especially at the National Hunt meetings. There is definitely a gap in the market that I feel I could fill. In fact, I have just begun to blog at caughttheeyefashion.wordpress.com (link here), so hopefully potential sponsors will see that I’m serious about fashion!
You are known for your wild and boisterous nature, would you say that is an accurate observation?
Yes, I would say that that is pretty much correct… Life has been a little wild, but perhaps that’s because I’ve taken every opportunity I’ve come across, even if it’s terrifying! I’m glad I’m boisterous and wild, because I don’t think I’d be where I am today without that side to me.
If you had to invent a cocktail that encapsulated you, what would you name it and what would be in it?
Ooh I’d call it ‘The Rascal’. It would be full of Archers and grapefruit, with maybe a splash of something a bit stronger to give it a bit of a kick!
What, in your opinion, are the hardest and best things about being a recent graduate?
The best feeling is probably the satisfaction. I finished my degree to a good standard and I have it forever! That’s a great thing to know. For me, there isn’t really a downside or a worst thing. I’m in a job that I love, and I know it won’t last forever, but I already have a back-up thanks to my degree. It’s all pluses from where I’m standing!
If you could go back to any point in history for one day, where and when would you go?
Any place, any time; that is such a hard question! Perhaps because there are so many options I’d have to travel on Concorde! But really I think I would like to be there when man first landed on the moon. It must have been truly incredible at the time as it was such an enormous step forward for the world in terms of exploration as well as technology.
What advice would you give to any job hunting graduates out there?
My advice would be to broaden your horizons. It’s very easy to think you have to follow a path that you’ve set for yourself. Always take the opportunities that present themselves and more importantly create your own. Change creates opportunities so never be afraid to do something that you didn’t expect!
What is your idea of heaven?
Heaven for me is a place where your hard work pays off, your bank balance is never in the red and olive oil has no calories!
And finally, kiss, marry or kill – Taylor Swift, Jeremy Paxman and John Cleese.
Oh I’d definitely kiss Taylor Swift (who wouldn’t?!), marry John Cleese (so I could demand THAT German soldier walk all the time), and kill Jeremy Paxman…