The “Social” Job Search: Using Social Media to Get Ahead

By Emily Ferraro

socialIt’s no secret that maintaining a professional online presence can be one of the first steps to landing a job or internship. With another semester coming to an end, it’s time to take a look at how you use your everyday social media platforms to search for opportunities. Here are five ways you can jumpstart your search:

1.) Assess your current social media accounts. What do your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and LinkedIn profiles look like? Are you keeping a consistent personal brand that you are proud of? Remember that your privacy settings can help and hurt you in the world of social media recruitment. Do not make your profiles so private that it looks like you are trying to hide, and don’t assume that all privacy settings hide your embarrassing photos and posts. To make sure you’re aware of what others can see, use Google Alerts to track your activity online.

2.) Tailor your tactics: engage on each platform differently. For example, on Twitter you only have 140 characters per tweet, so your ability to engage with others in your network must be brief and creative. Take these tips into consideration:

  • Facebook– Consider your personal brand when posting profile pictures and cover photos. Manage your privacy settings as they are always changing. Use Facebook’s profile options at your discretion, but if you want to connect with others using Facebook’s new Graph Search, you will want to add work places and education sections. Not many people use Facebook for professional purposes; this will help you stand out when you want to make new connections. Remember to “like” and follow industries and groups that are relevant to your career interests. Use Facebook pages and apps for job searches.
  • Twitter– Being professional while perfecting the use of hash tags geared towards your career goals is going to help you to be found in the job search. Start by following ERAU Career Services and use it as a guide for what to post and who to follow. Also follow important leaders in your desired industry. Look for employers/companies tweeting open job posts through sites such as “Tweetmyjobs” and “TwitJobSearch.”
  • LinkedIn– The go-to professional social media platform is the most helpful when it comes to connecting with your professional contacts and keeping in touch. Unlike the other platforms, LinkedIn is used primarily for job searching and professional activity. Your profile has the ability to be an extensive and detailed version of your resume paired with your personal voice and passions through statuses and projects. Follow influencers, groups, and companies to learn more about your industry. Share, comment, and engage with others through their posts and discussions. Use the tools through LinkedIn Higher Education listed below for more help building your profile.
  • Pinterest– When it comes to building professional pins on your Pinterest board, start with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Career Services. Pinterest’s potential for helping you secure a job isn’t as well-known as LinkedIn, but by following career experts on Pinterest you can keep up with the latest hiring trends in addition to seeing the culture of a company through their pins. Follow the companies that you are interested in working for and comment, like, or re-pin their pins; just remember to be professional! This is a site used for sharing ideas and finding commonalities which can be a great way for recruiters to find out more about your interests.
  • For more insight on each individual social media platform, visit The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for Social Media Guides: http://www.naceweb.org/knowledge/social-media/career-counselors-guide.aspx

3.) Post content that is relevant to your field/area of study. It is amazing how quickly one post can be liked, seen, shared, retweeted, etc. by people within and outside of your network. Recruiters are following trends and articles within your area of interest. By being a part of the discussion, you can be open to more opportunities and connections. Use Google Alerts to help you track new and developing stories.

4.) The most well-known application for professional online networking is LinkedIn. A newer development from LinkedIn now reaches out to university students through LinkedIn Higher Education. Using this tool can help you from beginning to end when it comes to your job search. Included are guides and tip sheets on topics such as building your profile, creating your brand, and communicating with connections, all of which are geared towards collegiate students.

5.) Consider blogging as an option to build your online professional presence. Start by seeing what fellow bloggers are doing within your area of interest and adopt a style of your own. Although this may not seem like a conventional idea for job searching, it is another opportunity to have your voice and brand be heard. It could also be another way to connect by following leaders from different industries and contributing to the conversation when you have something to add.

Social Media is ever-changing, and there are always new resources and tactics. Try your best to follow the trends while staying true to your brand and professional goals. Use the resources below for more insight and remember to connect with ERAU Career Services on all of our social media platforms!

Resources:
Facebook:
http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/01/16/facebook-social-graph-search-job-hunting/

LinkedIn:
http://university.linkedin.com/university/global/en_us/index/linkedin-for-students.html

Twitter:
http://mashable.com/2013/10/17/twitter-job-hunting/
http://www.naceweb.org/s08072013/social-media-hashtags-job-listings.aspx
http://www.twitjobsearch.com/

Social Media Tools:
http://www.naceweb.org/knowledge/social-media/career-counselors-guide.aspx

Emily Ferraro is new to the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and serves as the Program Manager for undergraduate Aerospace Engineering students. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies as well as her Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction specializing in College Student Affairs at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. Emily enjoys working with students to help them achieve their personal and professional career goals and specializes in topics such as personal branding and resume writing.

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