Using Social Media to Snag a Job

Find Job Using Social MediaYou may be stressing out because college is winding down and you don’t have a whole lot of experience. Fear not, you can stay on track and gain experience without having a job in college. Let me rephrase that, you will have some sort of a job. Researching, learning, and optimizing are all a job in themselves.

In the rest of this post, I’m going to talk about how you can master each social media platform from a professional standpoint. Plus I’ll include  little tips on how to separate yourself from the crowd.

Facebook

Facebook can be a little tricky to master in a professional sense. However, if used right, it can be used to highlight both your skills and interest because Facebook allows you to include what you like to do in your free time and any skills you have.

You have to be careful though. Even though you don’t have to stick to boring content, you have to make sure you steer clear of anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma seeing. If you can’t avoid posting pictures from the party you just went to last night, make sure you set your privacy settings appropriately.

Twitter

Twitter is a great place to show a little bit of your marketing skills. If you have a blog (which you should: more on the blog below) you can promote your blog posts and interact with other bloggers to create relationships. This will show future employers you have experience with social media promoting and have already created relationships.

HootSuite

You should use HootSuite to stay organized, schedule tweets, track keywords, and manage all your accounts.

google+Google+

You can easily share information with others on Google+. It even gives you the option to create circles and only post certain things in specific groups. It is an easy way to be professional and social at the same time. Here is a great resource for creating and optimizing your account.

LinkedIn

Of course LinkedIn is the best resource when it comes to promoting yourself professionally. It’s basically like an online resume. What a lot of people don’t know though, is how to optimize their profile to get the best results.

The best way to separate yourself from the masses is with your “summary.” Your summary is basically an introduction of who you are. Most people don’t spend a lot of time on it because they treat it like the objective on your resume.

A one page resume doesn’t allow you to take up a lot of room with an introduction but LinkedIn’s summary gives you the room to write and it’s important to use it.

Most importantly, your summary should be told like a story. Detail how you got to where you are and what makes you tick. Again, make sure you add your voice and personality when you write to make your summary unique.

Something worth reading is HubSpot’s eBook: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn.

Take Matters into Your Own Hands

Yes, school is a very valuable tool but it isn’t everything. Most classes don’t teach you about new media tools that have just come on the market. Although textbooks are valuable in some sense, you can’t exactly learn what’s currently happening in the marketing field from a book published in 2004.

Marketing is a fast paced field and in order to stay up-to-date, you have to do a little research at least a couple of times a week. It’s a good idea to create an RSS feed with sites like MOZ, Social Media Examiner, HubSpot, and CopyBlogger to make it easy to find great content.

A big perk about reading an RSS feed is you will be able to talk to other people about things happening. For instance, if you go into a job interview, you could actually discuss new marketing advances which will make you look like an expert.

Application Process

Competition is fierce in every job field, marketing is no different. Set yourself a part by jazzing up your resume. Although a paper resume is still needed, you should create a resume in multiple formats. Not only will this give everyone the option of choosing which format they prefer, it also shows how versatile you are.

I found a hilarious resume video by Matt Epstein. He makes sure to include his skills but he also adds humor and personality to the message. However, it’s important to make sure to include a link to a traditional resume too.

With all the social media platforms, it’s important to sign up for accounts ASAP. Future employers are looking for people with experience in social media. Even if you don’t have actual job experience, by actually using social media, you will be able to prove you have knowledge and initiative.

Hannah KaufmanHannah Kaufman

Hannah is the Associate Inbound Marketing Strategist at Savvy Panda, as well as a HootSuite Campus Ambassador. She enjoys learning new Inbound strategies and writing blogs, as well as running and playing with her four dogs. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Social Media Advice and More from Mandy Reinig

Mandy and Colleagues at a TweetUp

Mandy and Colleagues at a TweetUp

How did you get into social media?

I got started in social media completely by accident.  I wasn’t planning on working with social media at all but it started as part of a class project as a part of my second Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language.  Since it I wasn’t teaching at the time I decided to try out blogs and Facebook with my study abroad students since I was working as a full time Education Abroad Advisor and had a ready supply of students I could make use of.  My little project exploded from there and my campus decided to use it as an example and decided to do blogs and other types of social media because of what I had started.  My intensive Twitter use came after and was really just me experimenting with the social media that was out there.  I have had no formal training with any social media tools and it has really just been me playing around and trying out different social media tools to find the ones I like best.

Why did you start Mandy’s Mashups?

I started Mandy’s Mashups because I saw a need for social media training specifically for international educators.  There was quite a bit of social media training out there geared towards the business world and other sectors but nothing that really fit what we as international educators did.  I by no means consider myself an expert at all things social media but I have tried out enough social media tools that I figured I could assist people in avoiding some of the pitfalls I met along the way and help direct them in really making use of social media in a way that fits what we as international educators do.

Why is having an online presence important to you?

Having an online presence is important to me for several reasons.  One, it allows me to have my voice heard in a way that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.  In your job you come into contact with a certain number of people because of what you do.  With social media I am able to expand that circle of people and even expand it to outside of my field and make connections I would not be able to otherwise.  I am also able to express myself in a different way.  In my job my work generally consists of reports and presentations.  However, online I can express what I do and who I am through photos, quotes, fun sayings, and more.  I think this allows people to get to know you on another level.  I have developed some great online friendships with people I have never met because of that.  I will caution that you still need to protect your privacy and remember that everything you put out online is available to everyone.

Mandy's Mashups Website

Mandy’s Mashups Website

What advice do you have for students learning to use social media for personal or professional brands?

I have several tips for students wanting to use social media.  My first tip is to remember that everything you post can be accessed forever and is available to everyone.  This means you should be careful about what you post and don’t be one of those people who goes around posting those drunk photos of yourself and regretting it later.  With this you want to make sure you set your privacy settings according to your comfort level so that your posts are only shared with the audience you are most comfortable with.

I also suggest varying your posts.  This means varying the content as well as what you write.  Try posting some videos as well as photos and text.  Generally speaking graphics and more interactive posts tend to grab more attention that simple text based posts.  However, your audience may be different so don’t be afraid to try out a few things and see what works for you.  Remember what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another person.

My final piece of advice is it is better to be master of only a few social media tools rather than jack of all social media tools.  By this I mean try to find your niche within one or two of your favorite social media tools rather than having a hand in every social media tool out there.  If you try to conquer every social media tool out there all at the same time you will find it doesn’t work very well and the quality of your posting will be extremely poor since you can’t devote the time that you need to all of those different venues.

A tip for posting to multiple venues is to use a social media management tool like HootSuite.  I have tried out several of these management tools and HootSuite is my favorite since it allows you to post to several networks all at the same time as well as monitor all your networks at once.  It can save tons of time and energy so I recommend checking it out.

If you have any questions don’t be afraid to Tweet me @mandysmashups!!

Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Moffat, Communication Major Tweeting with the Canucks

ElizabethWhat is your background in social media?

I first jumped into using social media as more than just a personal user in 2010, when I was interning for the Canucks. I found that the quickest way to get player quotes, or the information I needed from practice during road trips was by following the Twitter feeds from beat reporters travelling with the team.

From there I became much more active on Twitter, sharing my Canucks posts, and within a year I was using Facebook and Twitter as part of my job for the SFU’s OLC website, taking control of their account, and posting from some other SFU accounts as well.
Since then I also helped launch The Game According to Twitter with Canucks Hockey Blog, engaging with tons of other hockey fans to put together game recaps through their tweets.

Why do you think it is such an important component in marketing/business?

I think social media really allows for whole new levels of marketing and customer service, brands can engage with their fans, critics and customers on a much more personal and authentic level, if they choose to do so.

It’s quickly coming to the point where consumers expect to be able to reach companies online, and businesses need to be able to go to where their audience is.

Canucks on Facebook

Canucks Hockey Blog on Facebook

How has your online presence helped you to network or job search?

I’ve met some great people through online connections, I can’t say that they without a doubt have been directly responsible for landing a job, but they have definitely helped.

Having an online presence that shows off your personality, and demonstrates your strengths is a great thing to have, it’s one more way to grab an employer’s or potential contact’s attention, and gives them one more reason to hire you.

What is your favorite aspect of social media?

Probably the ability to connect with people you likely never would have otherwise.

Not only is it an interesting way to connect with people near you, it’s also pretty amazing in its crowdsourcing ability. It’s a pretty revolutionary way to access breaking news, using reports from locals and professional journalists to put together a picture of what is happening. It’s susceptible to a lot of misinformation, but at the same time, you’re forced to learn pretty quick how to check your facts and sources.

What advice do you have for other students?

Use your common sense. Most of the stories I hear about social media gone wrong could have been avoided by just using some common sense when posting. Know your audience. If you don’t want something you post to be seen by the public, then either figure out your privacy settings, or just don’t post it. While some platforms may prove to be a passing trend, the changes social media brings aren’t going away, so we all need to adapt.

Elizabeth MoffatElizabeth Moffat graduates from SFU this June with a Communication degree, before she takes off to spend the summer traveling. She currently works with the SFU hockey team and SFU’s Online Learning Community. You can find her on Twitter @lizzmoffat, where she’s usually posting about the Canucks or her latest favourite TV show.

From Friendster to HootSuite: Elaiza’s Path to Social Success

Elaiza Datar

Elaiza attending the Social Media Awards

One of the best ways to learn how to further your experience in social media is through others, and while my recent Student Spotlights shed light on how university students are utilizing social media in their education, it’s also great to hear from other social media professionals on how they developed passion and experience in the digital space. With that said, I am please to introduce Elaiza Datar, a Community Coordinator at HootSuite. Hear how she got into social media, and what advice she has for students of social media:

How did you get into social media?

I joined my first social network site, Friendster, when I was 12 years old. Then I joined MySpace, next was hi5, and by the time I was 16 I faked my age to join Facebook because that’s what all the older kids were on. Social networks have come a long way in such a short period of time. In a way, I’ve grown up with social media! And especially having lived and traveled all over the world, social media has become crucial in the distant relationships I’ve built and maintained throughout the years.

As a university student I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about but I was passionate about so many things and unsure of how to make a living off them. One day I stumbled on a TedTalk by Gary Vaynerchuk and felt my eyes open to the possibilities of social media. Since then I knew that social media would be the vehicle through which I build my career and pursue my passions.

How did you come to work for HootSuite?

I was attending one of DaveO’s (VP of Community) HootUps at Capilano University, #HootUpTREC, with a few of my friends. DaveO approached our group at the end of the talk and I told him that I was applying for a position at HootSuite and its been history since. At our recent team BBQ he said it was my swag and ‘low maintenance’ vibe that gave him a hunch that it would be a good fit. And looking at his track record, DaveO’s hunches have gotten him pretty far in life.

I was brought on to help coordinate the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program which has been such a fruitful experience. We just graduated our first batch of talent and are currently recruiting students from new regions and new Universities around the world!

Working for a company with passionate and hardworking individuals makes coming to a 9-5 job fun and extremely rewarding. Working with a start-up company means there’s a lot of growth happening and a lot of freedom for you to exercise creativity and materialize your ideas. These feelings translate directly into our Campus Ambassador Program.

Some of the HootSuite Team

Some of the HootSuite Team

Why is having an online presence important to you?

I was fortunate enough to have lived and grown up around the world. Doing so made me realize the importance of social networks in maintaining, and in some cases rediscovering, the relationships I had built and communities I interacted with throughout the different chapters of my life. Thanks to the Internet, no matter what corner of the planet I’m on, I will never be homeless or hostless. Whether via posting a status on my facebook page to any of my international friends who may be in the area, or logging onto couchsurfer.com and getting in touch with generous strangers.

But more than that, having an online presence has been a gateway to endless opportunities. Having an online presence means being a part of an online and offline community that one may not have encountered otherwise. The internet has made it possible for anyone to be who they want and feel like a part of something bigger than our day-to-day bubble. Our individual ability to create meaningful impact in distant communities or pursue personal life changes is incredibly empowering.

What advice do you have for students learning to use social media for personal or professional brands?

The best thing you can do is find things you’re passionate about – whether it’s food, snowboarding, not-for-profits, or even socks! Then find local businesses or organizations related to your passion. The next step is the hardest, but the most crucial: approach the business or organization and volunteer your social media services.

You will have a million and one reasons why you shouldn’t. Maybe you think you don’t know enough about social media to represent a brand? My SEO instructor at school knew nothing about SEO when he got hired for his first SEO gig but he turned to Matt Cutts and Google. Flashforward a few years and now he’s running his own successful online advertising company. Lesson: Google is your best friend, use it wisely.

If your passion is social media, the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program is a great in. You learn how to engage with communities online (international Campus Ambassadors and HootSuite staff) and offline (your campus community), as well as the technical aspects of social media.

As long as you’re giving your social media services to something you’re passionate about you will enjoy what you’re doing and feel inspired to learn as much as you can, and to do the best that you can. Having this hands-on experience will not only teach you about the industry, but it will give you the experience to take your social media career to the next level (aka a paid job).

There are lots of other ways to learn social media. Take on an internship, read as many articles as you can, find a mentor, take a course, attend networking events, etc. But whatever you do: stay curious and stay hungry. Social media is a continuously evolving game and to stay on top of it, you need to adapt with it!

Elaiza DatarElaiza Datar @ElaizaDatar

Elaiza is a Community Coordinator for the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in Political Science and from SFU with a Digital Communications Certificate. When she’s not cultivating communities online or engaging them offline, she’s climbing up rocks, downhill biking, hiking, and soaking up the great outdoors. More Elaiza at http://about.me/elaiza_datar

Student Spotlight: Kyle, PR Major & Aspiring Social Media Community Manager

This student spotlight is on Kyle Dempster, a public relations major at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a focus in social media. Kyle is an aspiring social media community manager and HootSuite Campus Ambassador.

Kyle DempsterWhat is your background in social media?

I began in the early days of Myspace when social media was just starting to take off. I was in ninth grade and had no idea what it would become by 2013. I migrated to Facebook in 2007 or 2008 and began using it extensively. I really like the options and ways to connect with people. I was on social media way more than my friends at the time but I saw social media as nothing more than a fad. I joined Twitter in 2008 because many of the podcasts I listened to were promoting its use for connecting with fans — little did I know how prevalent it would become.

When I entered college in 2010 I went in as a secondary education history major, but soon decided I wanted to interact with people more. I changed my major to public relations because I knew I could pursue social media work through that track. For a couple of years now, I have frequented Mashable to learn more social media information and to keep on top of changes in the field.

Furthermore, in July of 2012 I visited HootSuite’s site and noticed HootSuite University for the first time. I decided to take the certification course and quickly fell in love with the company’s atmosphere. This led me to join #HSUChats on Twitter, and through that I was recruited as a HootSuite Campus Ambassador.

You can find me on almost any social network under the username KyleDempster7.

Why do you think social media is such an important component in business?

I think social media is a fantastic way for businesses to connect with their customers and it is really important in an age when we have so many products to choose from. Because of this huge influx of choices, organizations need to stand out when it comes to their customer relations.

People love to be heard and sometimes all it takes to make them feel heard is a ReTweet or a simple thank you in response to their comment. I also think it is a great way to forge bonds with people that would never have been heard before social media. This gives businesses the chance to create brand ambassadors as well as create mutually beneficial relationships.

I would love to become a community manager someday; talking to consumers via social media really gives me a thrill, not to mention pride in my work.

@kyledempsterHow has your online presence helped you to network or job search?

This interview, for example, is all thanks to meeting Kayla, and learning about this blog via the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program. I also find it very useful to have respectable social networks setup that I can direct future employers to. I’ve even gone as far as creating business cards with my Twitter handle on them!

What is your favorite aspect of social media?

This is a tricky question…I love the changes and new opportunities to connect. I’m a big techie at heart so I also love seeing social media integrated into devices, like the iPhone.

What advice do you have for other students?

Read, read, read! Not books published years ago, but articles by reputable social media organizations like Mashable and HootSuite. I think books and theories have their place, but social media is cutting edge; it’s fast and it can be unforgiving, so make sure you know the lay of the land.

Kyle DempsterKyle Dempster @kyledempster7

Kyle Dempster is a public relations major at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a focus in social media. He is also the Public Relations Chair of his school’s chapter of PRSSA and its public relations firm, Rock PRoductions, a HootSuite Campus Ambassador, and works at the Office of Residence Life as their social media manager. Learn more about Kyle on his website.

5 Ways to Get More Experience in Social Media

People ask me all the time how they can get experience working in social media, and while there are a variety of answers, I thought I’d offer up five ways that I would suggest gaining such experience.

Social Media Channels1. Set up your own accounts.

While I hope that this would be a given, I’m surprised at how many students want to work in social media, but don’t even have a personal Twitter account. Therefore, one of the best ways you can increase your knowledge of social media channels is to leverage them for yourself. Not only will you learn how to use each channel, and discover the unique features of each, but you can then position your own channels to market yourself for jobs. And coming from someone who has hired and recruited social media interns and community managers, having an impressive and professional online presence is very important. I’m not keen to hire you if I can’t even find you online.

2. Offer to manage accounts for a small business or student org.

This is actually how I started getting experience in social media. Find a family member or friend who has a small business, and volunteer to manage their social media presence. Don’t expect to be paid, just do your best to practice developing a strategy, maintaining their accounts, and measuring results. If you can’t find an opportunity, try to create one. Get involved with a student organization on campus, or perhaps an office on campus, that is struggling with their social media, and offer your help. Once you do this, make sure to showcase your experience on LinkedIn and get a recommendation from whoever you worked with.

3. Look for a social media internship.

With social media becoming more and more influential in the business world, thousands of companies are jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, and seeking help with their social media. Larger companies are most often already in the game, and looking for seasoned social media professionals, but small businesses just need some help. Although many of these smaller internships are unpaid, there are many where you can work remotely, and require minimal hours per week. Look for one of these and apply! Here are some resources to look for internships:

4. Take advantage of unique opportunities.

HootCampusBesides a traditional internship, there are other unique opportunities that are popping up all over the web. One such opportunity is the HootSuite Campus Ambassador program. Once accepted in this program, you assume a role on your campus in which you help promote the many uses and functions of HootSuite and social media. Not only do you gain invaluable experience, but you also get to add a well-known and reputable company to your network and resume. Read more about my involvement with this program here: A Hoot-Tastic Opportunity.

5. Follow SocialMediaForStudents.com.

Ok, so this might seem like an obvious plug, but I’ve worked hard to include many helpful resources, tips, and interviews on this site to help students of social media learn how to develop their knowledge and skills. For example, make sure you check out the Social Media Marketing 101 page for ideas on how to navigate all of the information about social media, as well as the Important Links page for blogs and sites to follow. To make sure you stay on track, subscribe to SMFS by email through the field in the sidebar!

Do you have questions? Other tips to share? Please add them in the comments!

Yes, You Need a LinkedIn Account!

LinkedInWith so many social networks to traverse today, why is it important for college students to be on yet another site? There are many benefits to being active on LinkedIn, but the most basic reason – to get a job and move out of your parent’s house! You do want to move out of your parent’s house, right?

Ok, let’s get started then.

Just as with the other social channels you have subscribed to, you will be required to fill out your personal profile. However, on this network, you want to be as honest, thorough and as complete as possible. Give as much information about your education, work experience, certifications, awards, etc. as you can muster up. A recently updated resume can be of great assistance during this process.

Here is a good resource to get started on LinkedIn: Tips to Help You Maximize Your Professional Profile

Speaking of an updated resume, you have one, right? Good, because you’ll want to upload that into LinkedIn for companies searching for prospective interns and employees. This will also be very helpful while you apply for all those job openings you discover!

Now that you have your profile and resume completed, it’s time to connect with the many professionals you already know. There are a couple of methods to go about finding these people. The easiest way is to allow LinkedIn to search your email contacts. Another way is to search for specific people manually. This may be necessary if you do not have everyone’s email stored in your contacts. You may also use a combination of both methods to connect with professionals presently in your life.

Student You may be asking yourself, “Where can I find professionals to connect with when I haven’t emerged into the workforce yet?” Don’t worry, here are few ideas to begin your search:

  • Classmates
  • Parents of your friends
  • Friends of your parents (that you also know)
  • Coaches, past and present
  • Teachers and Professors
  • Supervisors from Non-Profits where you have volunteered
  • Members of organizations in which you are involved, i.e. Churches, clubs, etc.
  • Past employers from high school jobs, summer jobs or part-time college positions

Now that you’ve started to build your network, you’re probably wondering, “What benefits does LinkedIn have to offer me?”

Here’s a list of some ways college students can use LinkedIn to market themselves for internships, employment, partnerships or lead opportunities:

  • Follow companies that you are interested in to keep up-to-date with the latest news, and more importantly – position openings
  • Follow specific leaders in your industry to listen and learn from them
  • Be found by companies searching for people with your education, experience and knowledge
  • If you plan on becoming an entrepreneur, LinkedIn is in a very valuable lead generation tool
  • Get referrals from connections you have worked with or volunteered with
  • Post updates to your page of interesting articles, presentations, infographics, etc. to be seen by your network daily
  • Comment on others’ posts to create conversations
  • Join industry related groups to stay informed on the latest trends
  • If you write a blog, include a link to it in your profile to showcase your knowledge
  • Continue to grow your professional network with the world outside of your present circles – you never know what the future holds for you!

These are just a few good reasons why college students should join LinkedIn sooner rather than later. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for using LinkedIn, please add them by commenting below.

Therese MatthysTherese Matthys  @ThereseMatthys

Therese has more than 10 years of experience in marketing. She co-founded two non-profit organizations, implementing many diverse marketing approaches. She is also a HootSuite Certified Professional providing social media marketing strategies and coaching for businesses and individuals to navigate through this digital world we are living in.