A recent survey found that between 85 and 99 percent of all college students have a Facebook account. Sure, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus are a convenient, free and fun way to stay connected with your friends and family, but they’re also an increasingly useful job-hunting tool. Before hitting the pavement to search for jobs the old-fashioned way, learn how you can harness the power of social media to land your first post-graduate position.
Set Up a Separate Business Account
Your Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages are filled with hilarious pictures of you riding a pony on your fifth birthday or enjoying your best friend’s going-away party a little too much. Your friends and family members might find these pictures and your musings on the state of modern cinema hilarious, but future employers won’t be impressed. When it comes to connecting with a potential employer through social media, do yourself a favor and set up a separate account. Don’t publish anything that isn’t related to your job search on this page, and only friend or follow business contacts, potential employers or past colleagues.
Create a Presence Online
A recent survey conducted by The New York Times found that almost 45 percent of employers are searching their potential employees’ names online. If you’re not sure how to create an online presence, start with creating a thoughtful, professional social-network page. For instance, if you’ve recently earned an IT masters degree online, include fascinating articles about the current state of the technology sector. Also, while using social networking to craft your online identity, don’t forget to follow, like or friend as many potential employers as possible. Stay connected by liking their posts or sharing links about the business. When you are able to apply for a position, your potential employer will be very impressed at your knowledge of their firm, and that you’re an ardent follower on Facebook.
Join LinkedIn Immediately
Sure, you can post an ad on Facebook touting your skills or follow a potential employer on Twitter, but when it comes to actually getting your resume into an HR representative’s hands or on their computer screen, no social networking site is more valuable than LinkedIn. In a nutshell, LinkedIn allows you to research a company, connect with that company’s employees and even look for jobs. You can also post your resume on LinkedIn, making it accessible to several thousand employers at once. Joining groups is another great way to stay connected with your peers, so don’t be afraid to post and inquire if your dream employer is hiring in the future.
Read Every Post You Can
You’ve joined LinkedIn and set up separate Twitter and Facebook accounts, but you still cannot seem to land your first job. This might be because you’re overlooking the “chatter.” Chatter is the replies to posts and questions posed by your fellow job seekers. For instance, let’s say you’re following a large company on Twitter; you scan your Twitter page daily to see if the company posted anything but don’t take the time to read the questions and posts of your fellow followers. Little did you know these job seekers are posting some pretty useful questions, and the answers can mean the difference between getting brushed off or getting a second interview.
Create a Video Resume
In larger firms, the HR representatives spend half their working lives sifting through endless mounds of resumes. Help yourself stand out from the crowd by creating your own video resume and post it on Facebook or even YouTube. Go ahead and be creative by including photos, clips and even music, but don’t ever sacrifice your professionalism.
You’re ready to utilize the power of social media to land your first job, but there is one important piece to the puzzle you might be overlooking. When it comes to ultimately impressing a potential employer, nothing looks better on a paper or video resume than an advanced degree. When you’re ready to earn a masters degree in negotiation, IT or any other field, consider the convenience and flexibility of an online education.
Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: Kevin Jackson is a guest blogger and social media enthusiast. Kevin recently earned a master’s degree in IT and is currently using the power of social media to land his first post-graduate position.