Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Social Media, Jobs & You: How To "Follow" the Trend

Keep calm and tweet on!
So you're about to graduate or are still looking for that "dream job" and you need an edge. Your resume could use some beefing up but you can't justify adding "Facebook creeper" to your "Skills" section. Just when you thought that your blogging rants were perhaps a waste of time, think again...social media just might be your ticket to paradise, or at least employment.

Over the past few weeks we've been pretty busy at the office. Our data entry skills have been refined and our perky 9 a.m. phone greetings have been perfected. With our morning joe in hand, everything is going swimmingly, until there's a social media gaffe and we start wishing that everyone was as savvy as we pretend to be. 

With that, we can only predict (with side of wishful thinking), how successful you'll be after you pick up "Blogger for Dummies", but its becoming increasingly clear that social media is the way of the future. You may not realize it, but your ability to access your world through virtual means might actually pay off someday. Especially if you know how to do it right. Here are a few of our favorite tips from the blogosphere that can enhance your social media game:

1.) Do something socially constructive. (The Black Collegian): Don't be afraid to kill your time on the unemployment line by volunteering. Community service speaks to non-profits and start-ups that need malleable individuals who do good. By taking advantage and getting involved in your community, you're building material to blog or tweet about that builds your resume for you!

2.) Identify the tools to suit your needs. (PR Daily): Be aware of the platforms you use and their intended purposes. Many social media environments can be manipulated to serve in a variety of ways but be weary of posting status updates on professional sites like LinkedIn the way you would on Twitter. 

3.) Keep close tabs on your pages. (Business News Daily): Nothing is worse than losing control of your pages. Keep the number of profiles you manage to a responsible minimum and update them regularly. Information (especially pictures) that are outdated, discredit the owner's ability to successfully coordinate multiple tasks and ultimately speaks to your organization. Also, watch the comments of your followers. Crude or offensive remarks might turn your page into a red flag for potential employers.

4.) Know how you compare. (The Huffington Post): When it comes to real-life acquaintances, it's always better to believe in quality over quantity. Over the internet however, the number of friends or followers is what distinguishes successful users from their lackluster counterparts. Figure out what other people like you are doing or posting to gain traffic to their sites and follow their lead. Imitation is the finest form of flattery,  right?

If this looks overwhelming,
welcome to the big leagues!
5.) Leverage your network. (Forbes): If you're connect to a Blogspot account of someone who works in an industry you're trying to break into, ask them for advice. Facebook messages are another good way to reach out to people you admire. Don't forget to keep it professional and to not take it personally if you don't get a response. Advertising that you're actively job searching and have particular skills will also put you on employers' radar so joining LinkedIn professional groups is another good way to activate friends who can keep an eye out for you. 

6.) Maintain a smart online profile. (Monster.com): Kegstands might have been cool when you were involved in Greek life but now you're actively engaged in a job search and you'd rather be safely on your feet than with your life (literally) turned upside down. If you take pride in being successful, its probably time to untag and delete those pictures that aren't so flattering to your character. 

7.) Network wisely. (The Black Collegian): The best jobs are not always advertised in newspapers. This means that activating fellow majors in your alumni association, people who are career liaisons or college professors is a an integral part of your professional "attack plan". The more people who know you and can speak on your behalf to potential employers, the better!

8.) See yourself as an editor of your own suite of magazine. (The Guardian): We love our Tumblr, Twitter, Wordpress, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts as much as the next crop of social media mavens but there is a time and a place for everything and you can see the difference if you've found us on other platforms. Before you experiment with a new account, or think of re-purposing an old one, consider the functionality of the site and how you can make it work for you. If your Flickr is filled with vacation pictures then maybe its time to set the settings to private so that your future CEO isn't scrolling through pictures of you in a bikini (or worse, with a Spring Break sunburn)!

9.) Start a website/ blog. (Mashable Business): Take our advice and get passionate about something. For us, its a little bit of everything but there's a method to our madness. We don't average just under 700 hits a month for lack of trying so figure out what it is that makes you tick and get writing! The upside to this tip is that writing skills are invaluable and the more articulate you are about your passions, the more intriguing you become .

10.) Use your name as your brand, especially in e-mail. (Monster.com): It was cute in middle school but Pinkcutiexoxo@whatever.com isn't going to be eye-catching quite the same way a pink scented resume might be (see Legally Blonde). Keeping names consistent on your resume makes things easy and memorable for whoever is reading it. Also, if playing basketball isn't part of your desired job description, we suggest keeping any reference to a username including the word "hoopz" off the document as well.

Now that we've written the check-list, grab your favorite pen and start crossing out these steps. And don't forget to let us know how it works out for you! 
Good luck!

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