Career Corner: Using Social Media in the Job Search
For some college students, “job searching” and “social media” may not always go hand in hand. But for Katie Kruse, a senior and Parent Program intern studying Life Sciences Communication, social-media outlets provide a direct line of communication in a world where connections are one of the best ways to find a job.
Kruse’s coursework at UW–Madison has allowed her to expand her social-media skills. Through her classes, she has built a personal website, assisted in rebranding a company, and networked with top social-media bloggers.
“Social media is becoming a new form of a resume,” says Kruse. “It’s important for students to utilize websites in a more professional way, not just as an outlet to talk to friends.”
While attending UW–Madison’s All Campus Leadership Conference this year, Kruse was the only person still standing when a speaker representing Global Lead, an Atlanta-based company asked, “How many of you follow us on Twitter?”
“After the session, the speaker remembered me; we now keep in contact through e-mail, and she is helping me create contacts in the event-planning industry,” says Kruse. “It’s key to learn how to brand yourself online in a way that says something about you professionally. Personal branding allows students to articulate their goals and career aspirations to potential employers.”
Here’s a brief summary of major social-media websites and how they can be help a job search.
LinkedIn is like having a website. Highlight accomplishments, work history, skill set, and much more. Other professionals can find potential employees through the site if they have lost phone numbers or e-mail addresses. Companies can also locate those interested in being hired for contract or full-time work. It allows students to connect to people they know, as well as professionals in their fields of interest. Using LinkedIn, a student can:
- Include recommendations from others in his or her profile, adding credibility to a resume and demonstrating professionalism within a particular industry.
- Search for job opportunities. Aside from the job-postings section, a student can join groups and participate in discussions. Many employers will post opportunities within the discussion sections of various groups. Additional job postings for current students or recent graduates can be found as well.
- Ask for advice from professionals using LinkedIn Answers.
- Prepare for interviews. To help an interview go smoothly, a student can use LinkedIn to research companies and the people he or she will be meeting.
Twitter can be used for building an online presence, keeping up on news, joining conversations, making connections, and learning about job opportunities. A Twitter name should be a person’s real name to ensure search engine results. Using Twitter, a student can:
- Follow people, recruiters, and companies of interest to learn about news and opportunities (ie:@socialmediajob).
- Build an online presence by using hashtags(#) to contribute to conversations, mention other Twitter users, and re-tweet information.
- Check out the Twitter tool Twellow, which searches people’s bios and URLs on their bios. A quick search will find a company a student would love to work for, as well as people from that company who are on Twitter.
- Reach out to people to network and ask for advice.
Although Facebook is primarily a personal rather than a professional site, it can be an effective networking tool. A student can:
- Follow companies of interest to learn about announcements, recent news, and job opportunities.
- Utilize the status update to inform friends that he or she is looking for a job by posting an update on an interview or an event. A student who has a blog can share a new post.
- Post a note explaining what he or she is looking for in a future career. A note tends to stay on people’s screens longer than a status update, and a student can write much more.