First Impressions - How can we responsibly introduce ourselves to the relevant networks while pursuing opportunities on social media?
Whilst social media is a powerful tool that can be used to network and create/pursue opportunities to advance our careers, if used incorrectly, it could be the reason why we keep missing opportunities that we seek.
In the recent past, I have received several messages on social media from all over the world from engineering students, technicians and graduate engineers seeking opportunities within the engineering space and more specifically in electricity access in Africa
There’s an astounding amount of global talent in the engineering field and I saw young passionate individuals writing to me but not knowing exactly how to communicate.
I believe the simplest things make us memorable. Paying attention to detail is an important part of first impressions. Ensuring your spelling is right and that you are straight to the point gives the reader the idea that you are serious and certain about your goal and will most definitely get their attention.
These are some of the considerations I usually make while sending out messages to networks on social media and some DON’Ts that I experienced while reading through the same. It is a learning process for us all and I’d appreciate hearing your comments and lessons on the same;
1. Profile pictures and bio
Your profile photo is your first point of contact on social media. On a professional platform where you would most likely interact with potential employers and recruiters, I’d recommend a professional photo that clearly shows your facial features. Avoid using a photo where you are wearing a mask or a more social photo that may not present you as a professional.
Your bio can give a lot of information about your academic and professional history with a quick browse through. Highlight the most significant ones while looking for work or an internship opportunity. If you are fresh from college, you could also highlight the internship/attachments and projects undertaken during the course of studies.
2. Identify the right networks
Not every founder, CEO or employee of an organization can help you secure an opportunity directly. It is important to first understand what exactly you are looking for. Identify the field relevant to your expertise, your passions and the organizations that can offer this. Do some research and see what would work for you based on your career goals. Work culture is also an important part of job-hunting. You wouldn’t want to be amidst a system that doesn’t recognise and appreciate your talent.
3. Introducing yourself
The first thing you write can make or break your interaction with a potential employer. Being direct from the get go in the introduction has more of an impact than beating around the bush. An example of what not to write:
“Hi, I love your work. I’m looking for an internship opportunity in your organization or any government agency. Please consider me.”
There are several things about this that remain vague. Who are you? Do not assume that the reader will take the time to go to your bio, learn your name and credentials. Make this very clear in the introduction. Secondly, what are your credentials, academic and professional? You can list your credentials in chronological order but remember to be brief. Also do not attach your CV unless specifically requested. Say why this organization is a fit for you and again, be brief. Be specific about what exactly you are looking for it sets you apart. This is an edited example of one that I came across recently and I found straight to the point:
“ Dear Eng. Carol,
I am inspired by the work you are doing at Energy systems LLC.* and would be honored if you would consider me for opportunities available within the graduate engineering program. The following are my credentials;
Academic qualifications :
MSc. Management -University of Hyderabad* (Merit)
BSc. Engineering – University of Aggra* (1st Class honors)
Current Company - Wind World LLC.*
Current Designation - Assistant Engineer
Role & Responsibility - O&M Technical Site In-charge (80MW Solar PV farm)
Current Location - Bilbao
Total Experience - 4 Years 5 Months (O&M)
I am interested to work as an Electrical Engineer or Site Engineer. If there are any current opportunities for the same in your organization or any of your networks, please let me know via *email* and *phone*
My CV is available upon request.
4. Social media etiquette
Please STOP the “hey” and “Hi”. Just STOP it, it is irritating to open a message from a stranger and not know what exactly they want. It’s prudent to begin the message with a greeting, your name and exactly what you are looking to achieve from the interaction. This makes it easier for the reader to acknowledge your message and let you know right off the bat whether they’ll be able to assist you or not. Avoid the temptation of sending several messages one after the other if you are not getting a response. It can be agitating. If one door doesn’t open try the next. Patience plays a big role in successful applications.
5. Follow up!
If a response is given, make sure to follow up. More often than not the individual could forget and it would be good to give a gentle nudge after a week or so. If they can’t help you ask if they can introduce you to someone who can. This helps broaden your network and thus increasing your opportunities.
I hope this helps; feel free to add on in the comment section some do’s and don’ts of the virtual job hunt. Love and light 💕.
Image courtesy of : Point Road group