Whether you’re changing careers or starting a new position, older workers face several challenges in the workplace. One of the biggest hurdles is learning how to navigate social media. Our guide on social media for mature professionals breaks down how a social media strategy can help older jobseekers find their next career path and build their online presence.
This guide on social media for older people covers the DOs and DON’t of using social media to build your personal brand, network, and find a new career.
First up, why social media for older professionals is important.
Why Social Media For Mature Professionals Matters
While you may not need it for your career, building a social media presence has become a core skill that most employers put stock into. Not only does it allow you to build your professional brand and network, but it shows employers you are committed to staying on top of the quickly-evolving professional landscape.
On a practical level, being active on social media platforms makes it easier for recruiters to discover you and get to know your skill set. At the same time, being active online gives you more opportunities to find career opportunities, both through your own personal network and through job boards.
The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to social media.
Data from standoutCV reveals that a whopping 91% of all UK employers currently use social media as part of their recruiting process. What’s more, a quarter of job vacancies in the UK are filled through social media hiring.
In a nutshell, building a social media presence as an older worker will make you more confident, active, and visible on social media.
Social Media Tips For Older People
Now we know why building a social media presence as an older worker is important, let’s look at how to do it right.
We’ve rounded up our top tips on social media for mature professionals.
1. Do your research
Once something is on the internet, it never really disappears. So, think twice before you post, share, or comment. The best way to avoid blunders is to do your homework before you start using a specific social media platform.
Start by finding other mature professionals who are successfully leveraging social media. Then, look at what they’re doing. How often are they posting? What type of language are they using? How have they laid out their profile? The more you do this, the more you’ll get a feel for the etiquette of a platform. As such, you’ll be more confident that your own posts are in keeping with the tone of the social media medium.
For example, LinkedIn is a professional social networking site and, therefore, has a distinctly more professional tone. You’ll notice that your profile picture should be a professional headshot and that you should limit your posts to professional-related content.
On the other hand, Twitter is a much more informal social media site. Thus, your tone of voice and content should match.
2. Start with LinkedIn
If you’re nervous about using social media as an older jobseeker, then start small. Rather than overdoing it by signing up for every social media app under the sun, tackle one at a time.
LinkedIn is an easy place to start.
Begin by making sure your LinkedIn profile is complete. Follow our checklist below:
- Upload a professional headshot as your profile picture (selfies are usually a no-no, make sure your full face is on show and that the lighting is good)
- Add your educational and professional background (focus on your transferable skills and achievements rather than a list of tasks)
- Upload any professional certifications or achievements
- Add links to any relevant websites, such as a creative portfolio, professional website, or other key projects
- Reach out to your network and ask them to write you a recommendation. This will appear on your profile
- Use the search bar to find groups and pages on LinkedIn that align with your industry
- Start participating in conversations in these groups and engaging with potential employers by liking and commenting on their posts
- Grow your network by connecting with like-minded professionals in your field
3. Set social media goals
Social media for mature professionals is usually about achieving a specific goal. Maybe you are job hunting, or perhaps you want to break into an industry that relies heavily on social media. Whatever the reason, it always pays off to define the ‘why’ behind your social media strategy.
The easiest way to do this is to note down three goals that you want to achieve by building your social media presence. Next, break each goal down into small, manageable chunks and set a time frame.
Here’s an example.
“I want to use social media to break into the marketing industry”
- Research the most used social media platforms for marketing
- Create profiles on these platforms (one at a time)
- Find and follow like-minded professionals on the platform
- Analyse their social media performance for tips
- Start engaging on these platforms (posting, commenting, liking, and sharing content)
- Share articles and content related to marketing
- Reach out to professionals and grow your network
- Keep an ear out for opportunities and networking events
4. Stay consistent
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither is a strong social media strategy, especially if you’re an older professional who lacks confidence. The good news is that the formula for social media success is made up mostly of consistency.
Don’t give up if your efforts don’t pay off right away, it takes time to master these platforms and to build a strong social media presence. Instead, review your performance regularly to see what is working and benchmark your performance against other professionals in the field. This allows you to build your social media skills and stay on top of the latest trends.
It’s also worth getting to grips with how social media analytics work. Not only will they help you assess your own performance, but they’re also a major part of most brands’ social media strategies.
Of course, if your main aim is to harness social media to find a new career, your metrics may be a little different. Instead, you’ll want to keep an eye on the following:
- Number of profile views on LinkedIn
- Level of engagement on your posts (views, likes, comments, etc.)
- Communication from recruiters (usually in the form of direct messages)
- Number of responses you get when you share your CV or apply for job roles on LinkedIn
Remember, social media isn’t the place to be shy. In fact, 45% of recruiters post on social media specifically to engage with candidates. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to reach out, engage, and strike up conversations with recruiters in your target field.
5. Utilise job boards for mature professionals and career changers
If you’re trying to use social media to find a job, then you may want to also turn your attention to specialised job boards. These sites have a host of job vacancies within your niche industry or candidate profile.
Let’s say you’re a career changer looking to start a new path later in life. Opting for a specialised career change job board is the best way to find roles that are suited to your needs and experience. Plus, some of the top career change job boards offer employer profiles so you can find the right companies to apply for.
For instance, at Refreshing a Career, our career change job board is packed with opportunities for top career changers, older workers, and underrepresented groups. On top of a live job board, our resource hub provides job seekers with a wealth of valuable information to help them land their dream role.
From writing a career change CV to dealing with ageism in the workplace, you’ll find the latest industry insights and advice every Monday on our blog.
6. Google yourself
Here’s another interesting statistic from standoutCV – 21% of recruiting specialists have rejected a candidate after checking their Facebook profile.
What is the lesson here? Oversharing is one of the biggest mistakes newcomers of any age make when they start using social media.
Before you start building your social media presence, Google yourself and see what’s there. Next, go to your current social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and take a good look. If you have photo albums with private or not-so-professional photos, make your albums private. The same goes for inflammatory or unprofessional posts. Delete them or make your profiles private.
Social media for mature professionals is a tricky one to get right. Therefore, it’s important to run a thorough background check on yourself and remove anything that could affect your ability to be hired.
Social Media For Mature Professionals: Key Takeaways
Whether you’re making a career change or just trying to hone your skills, social media for mature professionals can be daunting. That said, social media is now an integral part of most employers’ hiring processes. As a result, it’s vital for older adults to tackle it head-on and become confident in this space.
Following the actionable steps laid out in this guide is a great place to start. It will set the foundations for you and help you to boost your confidence as you learn to navigate social media and use it to your advantage. With some practice and the right advice, social media can stop being something you fear. Instead, it can be a wonderful tool for job hunting, career pivoting, and growing your professional network.
Are you looking for a new career? Our website offers a wealth of valuable aids, including career change guides, confidence tips, information on how to retrain, and much more.
For further advice, check out our resources on changing careers or browse our live career change job board for opportunities near you.