Finally, job growth in the U.S. is growing at an unexpected pace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 195,000 new jobs in June and employment gains for May and April were “revised sharply higher.” This is exciting news for the U.S. economy, especially for new grads. And while job searching in this more optimistic market, recent grads should use the proper tools, such as social media, to get ahead.
Some students don’t think about mixing online networking with face-to-face networking. Remember, personal, or virtual, face time adds value to relationships and more referral potential. When you make a new connection on LinkedIn or SkillPages, set up a meeting for a quick chat, for example. Read on for five ways to boost your odds of landing a job in your industry by using social media.
1. Take advantage of school connections
Are you currently in online classes or involved in online discussion boards? Take full advantage of the school intranet system or online courses to excel academically. The school you choose can have significant impact on how quickly you land a job. For example, students in animal care industries can enroll in the online college Penn Foster, which boasts a higher-than-average pass rate in the Veterinary Technician Associate Degree Program and has a 90 percent pass rate on the certification exam. Then connect with other students enrolled on social networks to keep valuable contacts for after graduation. Also inquire about class-related Facebook groups or Google+ Hangouts and start participating in those networks while still in school to stay connected.
2. Clean up your existing accounts
While social media can be a great way to attract potential employers, it can also hurt your chances of getting a job if you’re not careful about your posts. You don’t have to be precisely professional all the time. Social media should reflect your personality, but you still want to be mindful that potential employers might be scoping out your profiles before considering hiring you. Before you open up your history for a thorough review, consider using a reputation management tool, such as BrandYourself. For around $10 a month, college students can find out what potential employers will find.
3. Make sure you’re searchable
No matter how attractive you look online, if potential employers can’t find you, you’re invisible. One 2012 study by CareerBuilder reports two out of five employers check social networking sites before considering an applicant and more than 10 percent plan to start checking. Start with posting your online resume on LinkedIn, and make sure your profile is complete with a clear head shot, as well as relevant courses, job experience or recommendations.
4. Blog about your experience
Almost 70 percent of adults use social networking. One way to stand out from the pack is by blogging about your experiences in your desired field and/or relevant volunteer work you’ve done. Blogging is a great tool for interns to get their messages out to followers and potential employers. Free blog pages at WordPress.com or Blog.com give you a chance to branch out without up-front expenses while you intern, job search and network.
5. Take proactive steps
Friend, follow, or express interest in companies you’re interested in before you submit your resume or application so you can learn about the company. Stay connected with peers from your alma mater. Join your class’s group page and talk with fellow students. Since maximizing social media depends on reciprocity within relationships, it’s crucial to maintain ties with your contacts by dropping them periodic notes to check in and foster connections.
Do you have any tips for using social media to land a career? Share them in the comments.