How to Use Social Media to Advance Your Career

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By Liana Cafolla

This is an article from the CFA Institute Career Guide, featured here with kind permission from the CFA Institute. You can obtain the full Career Guide for free here.

The days of finding a job by scouring newspaper ads and company websites, signing up with multiple headhunting agencies, and sending out a stream of tailored CVs to prospective employers are over. If you have an online profile on a professional social media site, chances are that recruiters will contact you to apply for particular roles instead of you contacting them.

For most people, that website is LinkedIn, the largest professional network on the internet, with more than 332 million members in 200 countries and territories, including 61 million in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Over the past four years, the percentage of quality hires sourced from social professional networks has increased 73%,” says Eric Yee, head of Talent Solutions for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan at LinkedIn. “We highly recommend for CFA charterholders to leverage LinkedIn; be online and engage in conversations.”

Eric’s recommendation is backed up by the company’s latest findings in its 2014 Global Recruiting Trends report. Based on a survey of 4,125 employers in 31 countries and 14 industries, the report finds that social professional networks, such as LinkedIn, are the fastest-growing source of quality hires globally and that 37% of recruitment leaders worldwide say that social and professional networks are the most essential and long-lasting trend in recruiting for professional roles.

It is easy to see why online recruitment has taken off to such an extent. For recruiters, searching for suitable candidates with specific skills or experiences on such sites as LinkedIn is faster, cheaper, and easier than waiting for candidates to apply and then trawling through reams of individual CVs. And for candidates, LinkedIn has dramatically streamlined the job search process, with just one online presence to perfect, update, and monitor.
But how do you stand out from your peers and competitors? We asked Eric and Shamni Wainwright, managing director of the recruitment firm Michael Page Hong Kong, for their advice on how to get the best out of your LinkedIn profile.

Do learn from experts within the finance industry.
Check out LinkedIn Pulse’s news dashboard and In uencer posts for the top daily headlines, join groups, and follow new industry-specific “channels.”

Do build your online network.
Grow your network by sending personalized LinkedIn connection requests to everyone you know— friends, family, neighbours, teachers, colleagues, and more.

Do include a strong headline in your LinkedIn profile.
A concise but descriptive headline will catch people’s attention. If you need inspiration, look at the headlines used by peers or leaders in your field.

Do become a thought leader.
Pen and publish columns on the insights gleaned from your experience that will help your peers and publish them on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

Do build a personal brand by listing your professional skills and expertise.
Members who list skills on their LinkedIn profiles receive an average of 13 times more profile views than 
those who don’t. To enhance your brand, include links to projects you have worked on. List your achievements as well as your responsibilities. 

Do include a good photo.
Impressions count, so ensure you add an impactful corporate photo to enhance your pro le. Remember, not too social and not too cheesy, as the purpose is to convey yourself as a professional.

Do work on networking.
Connect to people you know or have met and consider linking to professional or industry networks related to your career interests. The more people you are connected to, the bigger your world is to draw from.

Do list your qualifications, especially your CFA designation.
Mention you are studying for, or have completed your CFA designation as this is one of the most prestigious finance qualifications you can obtain, as the hurdles are high. Employers typically do keyword searches based on the CFA qualification, so ensure you can be found.

Do be proactive.
Research the online presence of companies where you want to work, including their LinkedIn pages.
You may apply directly for the vacancies posted on company pages.

Don’t omit the details.
LinkedIn members are 12 times more likely to be viewed for potential opportunities if one or more positions are listed, and profiles with a photo are 7 times more likely to be viewed.

​“If a member’s profile is incomplete, they are missing out on career opportunities. If a member only includes their most recent position on their profile, they appear to have only six months of experience to a search engine.” 

Don’t cross the public–private line.
Careless comments or tasteless jokes posted online can lose you opportunities or even jobs.

“Ensure you know the line between 
what is con dential information
— such as your client base—and what is appropriate for the public forum.” 

Don’t ramble.
“Be succinct and to the point. Ensure you highlight your technical competency within the nance or accounting eld by featuring the most relevant experience you have gained, such as IPO experience.”

​Don’t forget the personal.
Include some references to your strengths, skills, and interests. “Provide some insight into how you operate and the type of person you are.”

Don’t be too radical with your comments.
If it’s online, it’s accessible. Remember that potential employers want to find out about you and are likely to check out all of your social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter.

“It is common practice now for employers to check a candidate’s 
social media profile prior to making 
an offer, and we have had offers accelerated and offers not made as a result of this.” 

Copyright (2015), CFA Institute. All rights reserved. Reproduced and republished from CFA Institute Career Guide 2015-2016 with permission from CFA Institute. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks of CFA Institute in many countries around the world.

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