• Majority of students think potential employers should have the right to check online profiles

    13 November 2013

    More students accept that potential employers will check their online profiles when seeking employment, according to new research from The University of Law.

    Fifty-three per cent of students think that employers should have the right to check online profiles when you apply for jobs compared to just 41% when the same poll was conducted 18 months ago. The poll was run by the Future Lawyers Network, a news and community website run by The University of Law.

    Rachel Harris, Director of Employability at The University of Law comments: “Students are starting to wake up to the fact that just as a candidate might go online to check out an interviewer before an interview - they may well be doing the same to you. As with any online activity, students should err on the side of caution, and assume that anything they put online in the public domain may be seen by potential employers.

    “More and more law firms are now also increasingly embracing social media as a communications channel and most legal services firms now have their own online profiles. Using social media tools can really help to highlight your achievements; but on the flip side of the coin you don’t want a potential employer to be put off by something you posted in jest.”

    Recent research carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies** looked at how and why HR professionals and employers use social media when recruiting staff. It found that 45% of HR decision-makers were already using social media tools in recruitment and 16% were planning to in the future. It also found that social media tools are often used to search for potential candidates online and for 'screening' candidates by viewing their social media profiles.

    Rachel’s top ten tips for using social media to enhance your job prospects:
    1. Co-ordinating and cleaning up your online presence can really help you to position yourself in the market. The tools can help make new contacts while keeping you better informed about opportunities and how to respond to them.
    2. Use social media connections to make sure you are the first to hear about an opening. You can be better attuned to an employer's distinctive identity and recruitment processes by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
    3. Check your privacy settings (especially when a site changes its terms and conditions). For example, you may decide to choose 'stricter' privacy settings on social sites such as Facebook than you would for more business-focused sites such as Linkedin.
    4. So far as you are able, try to keep control of what others post about you, for example by ensuring that you have to approve photos before your name is 'tagged'.
    5. Be careful of who you link to, or accept as a friend (you can be known by the company you keep).
    6. Review your online footprint and remove any 'dubious' content before you start applying for jobs.
    7. Ensure that you present yourself consistently across different sites, as a potential employer may use several social media platforms, and you want to be giving out a coherent and credible message.
    8. Be a positive part of the online community: demonstrate your areas of interest by following relevant individuals and groups, and make well-informed comments.
    9. Look for jobs on Twitter feeds/Facebook/Linkedin pages for the employers you are interested in.
    10. Use social media to follow cases and updates on the law and law firms – this keeps you up to date and allows you to get a different angle on the employers you're interested in working for.
    Notes to editors:

    * The surveys are based on online opinion polls run by The University of Law’s Future Lawyers Network. In March 2012, 135 students took part in the survey and in October 2013 the survey was completed by 138 students.

    ** Institute for Employment Studies paper ‘The use of social media in the recruitment process paper’

    For further information, please contact:

    Broadgate Mainland
    Mark Knight/ Sarah Evans Toyne / Lianne Robinson / Cara Penkethman
    Telephone: 020 7726 6111
    Email: TheUniversityofLaw@broadgatemainland.com

    Further information

    Contact Lucy Wray, Press Officer, The College of Law on 01483 216072 (lucy.wray@lawcol.co.uk).