Our fantastic (and socially savvy) Marketing intern Kristy Okada is wrapping up her time with Gremln, and as one of her final projects, she jumped at the opportunity to write a blog post for college students everywhere with advice on how to use social media to find internships and jobs. Kristy is a Junior at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She is majoring in Economics.
College students, let’s be honest with ourselves for a second. Under the guise that we’ve got it all together, we are freaking out…a lot. In addition to maintaining a social life, receiving good grades, and staying involved in extracurricular activities, we feel the pressure to find an amazing internship or job that will give our resume that “WOW” factor.
Although the job market is recovering, the competition is still tough with hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of students clamoring for the same job. Especially with other candidates just as qualified as us, differentiating ourselves can be quite a tough task. Fortunately, the advent of the Internet has changed this completely. Instead of being a name on the page, we can wield our technological literacy to make ourselves standout in a sea of electronic applications by branding ourselves through our social media accounts. So loosen those strict privacy settings a little bit and show the world who you are and why you should work for them!
Here are some of my best tips:
A professional networking platform, LinkedIn is probably the first social network you think of when it comes to job hunting. I personally use the site to stay in touch with professionals I’ve met and to contact people for informational interviews, which I believe is the best way to network. (People love talking about their jobs, especially to curious college students!)
In fact, recruiters utilize LinkedIn the most compared to any other social networking site to look for both passive and active candidates. Therefore, there is an advantage to having a complete and updated profile.
Tips for LinkedIn:
- Upload a picture of yourself. Just make sure you look professional. LinkedIn is not the place to share your beach trip pictures to Mexico…ever.
- List past experiences and add meaningful bullet point descriptions. Make sure to include industry-related keywords onto your profile. Think of this as your resume in a digital form.
- Add skills to the “Skills and Expertise” section of your page. Again, another great area to insert keywords onto your profile. Recruiters have the ability to search by skills, and you don’t want them to overlook you!
- Join Groups. Consider joining a group for your high school and college’s alumni, an organization that you are involved with on campus, or a career that you are potentially interested in. Interacting with a group will get your name out there, and who knows, maybe those connections will help you with a job or interview in the long run.
- “Connect” with people. Friends, co-workers, and classmates are good examples. You never know who is connected with the CEO of your dream company!
Twitter is also a great tool to leverage in your job search. Unlike LinkedIn, Twitter gives another user an instant insight into your personality and interests based on what you tweet about and who you follow.
The complex and often intimidating part of Twitter is monitoring the conversation. Millions of conversations are happening on Twitter daily, but how do you identify and listen to the right ones? Using a tool like Gremln will help you control and streamline the conversations, so you can tweet your way to your dream job!
Tips for Twitter:
- Make your profile public. Unless you are tweeting about some sort of illegal activity (and I assume you’re not involved with illegal activity, right?), you should make your Twitter public. You never know who will want to talk to you based on your tweets!
- Save your searches. I usually search #intern, #hiring, and #job. If you want to get more specific, search by industry, like #hr, #marketing, and #sales. Some companies post job listings on Twitter, and there are some Twitter handles completely dedicated to posting job opportunities. Gremln is actually a great tool to use to save your searches because it allows you to monitor these topics all on one screen, side-by-side.
- Create Lists. Lists enable you to listen to the tweets of a couple of users instead of everyone you are following. I personally have a list called “People I Follow,” which usually includes experts in the field I want to enter. This makes it easier for me to favorite their posts, retweet them, or reply if I have something meaningful to say.
- Follow your favorite companies. Recruiters will be impressed if you know up-to-date information on what’s going on inside the company. Their Twitter handle will also give you an insight into the culture and help you determine if you are a good fit. Some companies even have a separate account for students or careers, so follow those, too!
- Also follow industry publications. In addition to keeping abreast of company news, get a good handle on what’s happening in the industry as well. Your knowledge will definitely help you come across as well-informed and genuinely interested.
Yes, even Facebook can help you with your job search! Although it has the biggest social network user base (over 800 million!), Facebook is sometimes less thought of as a job-searching tool. Nonetheless, having a complete profile will only serve to help you since your profile will often be a top search result.
Tips for Facebook:
- Include past work experience. These days, there are different applications online, such as Jobvite and Jobzey, that job seekers and recruiters can use to optimize their searches and find better matches. Additionally, Facebook targets advertising based on the information on your profile, so including short descriptions and industry keywords may help.
- “Like” your favorite companies. Most Facebook pages have a “Careers” section that display the available jobs. Similar to a company’s Twitter handle, a company’s Facebook page also gives insight into the company culture based on their posts. Wondering if you’ll fit in? Now you’ll have a better idea.
- Ask friends for help. Facebook is a place for friends, after all! Carefully craft a post, either a status or private message, to let your friends know you are looking for a job. Remember to do it in such a way that shows your passion and enthusiasm for gaining a new experience.
- Show some personality! Even with a private profile, you can still tailor your privacy settings to let some aspects of your personality shine through. Your profile picture, cover photo, and timeline achievements are excellent places to do that.
Just remember that having accounts on different networks is not enough. Make an attempt to stay active and update your profile regularly, but have fun with it! Social media should be, well, social. So post away, and hopefully you’ll find a job along the way!