Northern Lights
Media, Marketing, Digital
Brilliant communicators, trusted to deliver
Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK & the UAE
01423 562 400

PR blog

Emily Knowles is a media studies graduate working in PR and copywriting.

After finishing my degree in 2011, my prospects of finding a decent entry-level job looked bleak.  My marks were all right, but not outstanding, and the last sports award I won was in senior school.

 1.  Bleak prospects for job-hunting graduates

The only way to prevent my CV from becoming a handy source of recyclable paper was through a post-graduate diploma. It would make me appear more ‘accomplished’ than the stiff competition posed by fellow graduates all fighting for a handful of jobs.

It wasn’t.


 2.  Use social media to be noticed by employers

There are a multitude of easier (and cheaper) avenues to get noticed by employers. I found the most informative exploration of the ways to increase my employability was From Student to Salary with Social Media. The book was a really insightful read. I already understood that social media platforms played a role in furthering or hindering the recruitment process, but I wasn’t aware of the extent of it’s ability to advertise one’s professional capabilities and employability.

3.  If companies market themselves – why shouldn’t graduates?

The function of marketing is not limited to just the marketing department. Clients can, and most likely will, judge a company’s ability to perform on anything from the secretary’s appearance to the use of a professional tone in email correspondence. The book has highlighted this idea, showing students how to market themselves in accordance to the firm’s desired ethos, culture and/or structure.

Companies use SEO (search engine optimisation) to improve their rankings on search engines such as Google.  They are effectively advertising their product/service, so it makes sense that the same measurement tool can be utilised by students to ensure their online profiles contain the right keywords and links which will correspond to an employer’s search criterion.

4.  Employers do check out online profiles

According to From Student to Salary, you can be assured that the first thing a potential employer will do is type your name into their search engine. Sam Waterfall highlights this idea in his presentation for Newcastle University’s Business School.  He identifies that such a search could reveal your story, your nightmare or simply nothing.

The rather traditional lecturers at my university frowned on the use of social media platforms to advertise professionally, classifying it as ‘a modern obstruction to gainful employment’, and their concern is understandable. Sarah Larby illustrates how Facebook is often the raison d’être, which cost you your job.  Like many, I began decreasing my activity on Facebook thinking that no information was better than bad information. However, the book shows us that the point is not to avoid being found online altogether, but rather to use various platforms to create a comprehensive online portfolio and resume. In essence it is all about leverage.

5.  Twitter can help potential employees engage with employers

From Student to Salary gives other uses for Twitter other than describing every mundane activity of daily life. Twitter, like LinkedIn can function as a relationship builder, connecting potential employees to employer. We can flatter employers by re-tweeting them, publicly demonstrate our eagerness to work in their field and develop a detailed understanding of our employers’ ongoing projects/interests/dislikes which can only serve to benefit a candidate in an interview situation. A great website to accompany the book in this regard is

6.  The internet does not forget your past
From Student to Salary has been one of the most useful readings I have encountered during my job hunt providing action-tips to organise your online story and reputation. It is important to remember that the Internet will unearth banter-ridden photo comments from 2008 as well as 2012.

11 Responses to “Were our universities right – ‘social media is a modern obstruction to gainful employment’?”

  • on December 27th, 2012 2:34 pm

    Were our Universities right – ‘social media is a modern obstruction to gainful employment’?

  • on December 27th, 2012 4:55 pm

    Great insights from post=graduate Emily Knowles on using social media in job-hunting

  • on December 28th, 2012 10:43 am

    ‘#Graduates should start creating a work-friendly, professional profile online to get a job’ – tips from a graduate

  • on December 28th, 2012 7:08 pm

    Were our Universities right – ‘social media is a modern obstruction to gainful employment’?

  • on December 30th, 2012 9:16 am

    ‘#Graduates should create a work-friendly, professional profile online to get a job’ – tips from a graduate

  • Tony Whiting
    on December 31st, 2012 11:35 am

    Of course social media can be an obstruction to employment just like a poorly structured, badly written or imcomplete CV.It all depends on how you manage social media. Do it well, and it will ceratinly help; the converse is also true.

  • on December 31st, 2012 12:36 pm

    Gt tips @sam_waterfall using social media to get a job – highlighted in Emily Knowles blog

  • on December 31st, 2012 1:59 pm

    Start the new year by sorting out your online profile – helpful tips from a post-graduate

  • Sarah Larby
    on January 5th, 2013 10:54 am

    Universities offer advice on CVs, covering letters, interviews, etc., so YES they should be advising their students on how to use social media platforms in order to optimise their employability. Unfortunately most are out of touch and don’t have the expertise to offer practical advice – this book really does offer some great advice, which is simple to follow; definitely worth a read!

  • on January 11th, 2013 9:35 am

    Are our #universitylecturers out of touch?

  • on January 11th, 2013 3:10 pm

    The internet does not forget your past

  • Leave a Comment

    six × 6 =



To subscribe to our RSS feed, click the orange button below. To subscribe by e-mail please enter your e-mail address below:
  • Bloggers

    Victoria Tomlinson

    Chief executive, Northern Lights PR
    Victoria on LinkedIn
    Follow Victoria on Twitter

    Ben Pindar

    Communications director, Northern Lights PR
    Ben on LinkedIn
    Follow Ben on Twitter

    Helen Robinson

    Associate, Northern Lights PR
    Helen's Profile

    Jonny Ross

    Associate, Northern Lights PR
    Jonny's Profile

  • Categories

  • Archives