Making Social Media Work for You

You’re on the homestretch of your education, a lot and so close to graduation that you can hear Pomp and Circumstance playing as you envision your proud walk across the stage to ge

t your diploma. You’re excited about displaying that hard-earned degree on your resume, and you’re ready to get your career moving forward in the direction that you’ve chosen. As you think about searching for a job, you naturally wonder what gives you a head start over your competition. One possibility is using social media. The following are a few ideas that may be worth trying as the time to start your job search approaches.

Professional Networking
You’ve been told at least a thousand times that networking is the key to getting a job. Deep down, you know it’s true, but maybe you haven’t had the time or opportunities for face-to-face networking. In the digital age, virtual networking can be much easier and more effective than in-person meetings. Networking should be a main focus of your use of social media for advancing your career.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site. Once you set up your account, you can network with your primary acquaintances, who can then recommend you to their acquaintances, who may ultimately be your potential employers. Name recognition from LinkedIn may give you an advantage over competitors when you are applying for a job. LinkedIn also lets you establish your settings so that you receive email notifications when jobs open up based on criteria that you choose, such as location, title, salary, duties or company.

Twitter
Popular wisdom states that if you want to become a top-level executive, you’d better act like one. That means you’d better get tweeting, according to a report that 80 percent of business executives in India use Twitter. It’s great for networking because it lets you find people who share your professional interests, and it keeps you updated, via Twitter feeds, on what you need to know regarding high-profile companies. You can use Twitter to promote yourself by tweeting interesting and relevant information, and staying in contact with people who communicate with you about your tweets.

A Few Tips
Using social media is probably already second nature to you as you finish up your studies, since colleges and universities use online

learning techniques both in on-campus and online courses. A few reminders can help you maximize your efforts in using social media to land a better job.

  • Clean up your Internet profile. You can assume that potential employers have access to everything about you that is online. You may be happily married with kids, but human resource departments are amazingly adept at digging up forgotten photos from your bachelor party.
  • Keep your profiles updated. That includes progress toward your degree, your experience and any online portfolios that you have publicly displayed. Employers won’t be too impressed by outdated information.
  • Don’t depend on social media for jobs. Facebook is not your most likely source for job leads. Keep doing your regular job searches in addition to your virtual networking.
  • The job market is small in a rough economy, and competition is fierce. Your degree and experience are admirable, but not necessarily enough to set you apart. Making good use of social media may be what you need to get ahead in the career game.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.