The college Class of 2012 is still basking in the post-graduation euphoria! Congratulations on everything you’ve achieved, experienced and learned over the past four years.
Now wipe that smile off your face and get a job! Seriously… there’s no time to waste!
If you ever saw the movie “The Graduate,” Dustin Hoffman returns home following graduation and spends several weeks scuba diving in the family pool and getting to know his neighbors a bit better.
Of course, Dustin Hoffman would be at a disadvantage against today’s college graduates. He didn’t have a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, YouTube channel or even a blog. Using those tools intelligently and effectively can go a long way to landing a desirable position, earning some money and getting out of your parents’ house.
Employers, especially if you are applying for jobs that require creativity, writing, marketing or communications, are going to be checking out your social media presence. We’ve all heard the stories of job applicants who lost out because employers found damning photographs or videos of the candidate drunk, stoned or worse. There are other stories of candidates who have lost out because of racist, sexist, homophobic or extreme political views.
Rather than talk about how you can screw up your job search with social media, I’d much rather discuss how you can enhance your chances of getting a job through the effective use of social media.
If you are a healthy, normal recent college graduate, then your Facebook page will have enough incriminating photographs, videos and other questionable content to raise a series of red flags with most any employer (unless you’re looking for a job at Rolling Stone).
So what do you do?
You have several options here. The safest thing is to clean up you page. But who really wants to do that? The next best thing is to manage your privacy settings to make sure that the only people who can see the damaging content on your page are the people you want to see that content.
Another option is to use a pseudonym on their Facebook page to keep them out of the prying eyes of employers (and relatives).
If you use your real name, then use your Facebook page to demonstrate your creativity, show a sense of humor (careful with this one) and to otherwise present yourself as someone who would be a welcome new member of the type of company you’re looking to hire you. Think of the psychographics of the employers you’d like to work for.
You can demonstrate your interests, talents and passions through your favorite books, movies, and the Facebook pages you follow (“likes”).
LinkedIn is quickly becoming the most valuable social media tool for people looking to get hired. Employers are searching all of the time on LinkedIn, so make sure you are found. Make sure your profile is complete, honest and grammatical.
As you build your resume on LinkedIn remember a few key things:
- Make sure it lines up exactly with your “official” resume. That means GPA, honors, dates of prior internships and job.
- Make sure it contains the keywords that employers in your desired field(s) of employment would be looking for. Think of LinkedIn as a hiring search engine and make your profile SEO friendly.
- Try to build as big a network as you can. You never know who is going to see your profile. Don’t be shy about inviting family friends, professors and others who might be of help in your job search.
Employers (like other human beings) are drawn to people who are social, influential, interesting and helpful. Use your Twitter account to show employers that you have built a social network, that you are creative and that you are passionate about things that would be of interest to an employer. Don’t use your Tweets to discuss breakfast, digestive issues or people who piss you off. Use your Tweets to show off your intellect, your wit, your charm. Provide links to articles, videos and other items that demonstrate your interests.
This is a grossly underutilized and extremely effective use of social media in getting hired. Make a video or videos that show you in your best possible light. Think of it as an audition tape and the cast you are hoping to join is your potential employer’s. Much more than a resume, a video can give a potential employer a clear picture of what it would be like to have you as an employee. Are you confident? Charismatic? Eloquent? Personable?
All of these can come to light in a video! Once you’ve produced the video, and you’re happy with it, by all means attach it to any job application.
Go For It!
Your generation grew up with social media. You’ve used it to make friends, seek relationships, and to share the good times. Now that you’ve graduated, it’s time to put your social media skills to work for you. As a graduation present to yourself, use social media to land a job!
Finish Line Photo via Shutterstock
For me, LinkedIn is my resume, my blog demonstrates subject expertise and Twitter shows who I interact with in the industry. I would recommend a similar strategy for new grads because online skills related to virtually all industries now.