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+.

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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: 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.

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.

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – Ben Heyman’s Online Persona

Meet Ben Heyman, a student at Boston University who knows the influence social media can have on your online persona, as well as your job search. Hear what he has to say:

Why is having an online presence important to you?

In today’s competitive landscape, you need more than just a resume to stand out. While applying to jobs is still very much a thing, it has changed. Recruiters look for you. They look for your online presence to get a better feel for who you are and what you stand for. I maintain an online presence to help recruiters get a better sense of who I am, to establish my credibility and to network with people who have similar interests as myself.

Ben's Website

Ben’s Website

What types of things have you done to showcase yourself online?

I blog and promote those pieces on various social media channels, maintain an up-to-date portfolio, constantly share articles I find interesting and relevant, and participate in Twitter chats. I am constantly finding stories on LinkedIn and Google+ and adding my comments where I can.

How has your online presence helped you network?

Twitter chats have been amazing. I have had so many people reach out to me who are willing to help me connect and find a job. I landed an interview with a company recently because I participated in their Twitter chat. It is also a good opportunity to share my blog, connect with people on LinkedIn, etc. I cannot say enough about how my online presence has helped me network. Keeping a consistent voice and message through all of my social media channels has definitely helped me create a strong personal brand.

Ben's Vizify

Ben’s Vizify Profile

How is your online presence helping you in your job search?

I have grown my Twitter following tremendously. I have had many people reach out to me after taking notice willing to assist me in the job search however they can. The networking opportunities that have arisen because of my online presence are numerous. I feel as if the time I spend maintaining my online presence will pay off in the long run.

Ben HeymanBen Heyman @heyheyman

Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Ben Heyman is a senior at Boston University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations in May 2013. He is passionate about technology, social and new media and public relations. He is fascinated by the idea of using technology and social media to enhance our lives. Ben is actively looking for full time employment to begin his professional career. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!

Have Your Cake & Eat it Too: A Career in Social Media

A big part of learning is looking to others as an example. Today I have a post from Tiffany Harrison, the Outreach Manager at GoAbroad.com, to comment on the importance of social media, and what its like to work in social media:

As a student these days, understanding social media is essential. To say that it’s not is like saying a passport is just a suggestion for international travel. A bit of an understatement, right? Whether you use social media strictly for personal use or are hoping to make it a part of your career, how you brand yourself online will make all the difference in your endeavors.

Tiffany at NAFSAI understand how it feels to navigate the waters of an online presence: how much should you put out there, how much is TOO much, and what is going to set you apart from the crowd? By offering some insight into my own experiences with social media, it’s my hope that you’ll be able to gain some perspective.

I don’t claim to know everything; to say that is to ignore the fact that social media is an evolving technology. Rather, I understand what it takes to stand out on social media while being true to who you are, and cognizant of how the technology changes. After all, it’s what led me to my current role with GoAbroad.com. Instead of referring to the following advice as “best practices,” I think a better phrase is “model practices.” This should help you to keep in mind that every person’s journey is different from the next, and your own technique will adapt and change with your pursuits. Let’s dig in, shall we?

How Did You Get a Job in Social Media?

I came to my position as Outreach Manager for GoAbroad.com after meeting and getting to know my future supervisor via Twitter. At that point in time, I was trying to break into the international education industry – which can be extremely competitive, particularly if you’re like me and don’t have a Master’s Degree or five plus years of experience.

That’s where getting creative with how to stand out took hold: I started a blog that encompassed the things I was most passionate about, joined Twitter, and began getting to know new people. A word to the wise: if you aren’t already on Twitter, I highly recommend it. It’s a great place to meet people (possibly future employers!), as well as get your voice heard on a platform where you’re liable to connect with anyone.

Initially, I wasn’t even considering how it might become my next job when I met my supervisor. I’d found her because I enjoyed reading her blog and wanted to express my appreciation of it. Before I knew it, we were tweeting back and forth, she interviewed me for her blog, and a few months down the road I was being offered the job of a lifetime. Stranger things have happened, right?

The important thing to take away from this, is that YES, being yourself in an online forum can be extremely rewarding. Whether it leads to a job, a writing opportunity, or even a new friendship, maintaining transparency in how you present yourself can take you far. Added to that, getting creative with your use of social media will also open new doors. Examine how people are already doing things, and find a new angle. What speaks to you, and how can you add your voice to the conversation? Speak up and I assure you that people will start to listen.

What Do You Do Everyday?

As the Outreach Manager for GoAbroad.com, one of my major responsibilities is managing our online communities of over 50,000 world travelers. I also oversee the GoAbroad Blog, managing all of the content that we write and share. When I’m not scheduling Facebook posts or responding to Tweets, I’m sending out press releases, working with GoAbroad partners, or prepping for an upcoming university visit. It’s definitely a job that keeps me on my toes!

Tiffany HarrisonThe wide-reaching scope of GoAbroad’s communities used to scare me when I first started with social media brand management. The learning curve was steep, the digital landscape was (and is) apt to change at the drop of a hat, and I was anxious about saying or doing the wrong thing for our audience.

I still have these moments on occasion, but you learn as you go. It also helps to have supportive colleagues who act like guiding lights throughout the learning process. If you’re eager to work in social media management, you have to be ready to take risks. Not every campaign will be successful, and you’ll have audience members who don’t always agree with you. It can be unnerving, but it’s also what makes working with social media so dynamic.

How Important is Maintaining an Online Persona?

It’s essential. And not just “I have a Facebook account, so I understand social media” kind of essential. It takes more energy and work than that. The way that I see it is if you want someone to find you (employers, college recruiters, fellow bloggers, etc.) give them something to find in the first place.

One of my first journalism teachers in college once told me it’s better to have some kind of “digital footprint,” as opposed to none at all. As I’ve grown and delved more into social media, I continue to adhere to this. People are going to search for you online either way. Better to give them something worthwhile to find, and you’ll already be one step ahead of the competition.

It doesn’t have to be complicated either: Find time to update your LinkedIn profile, use a tool like HootSuite to manage your tweets, start your own blog, or guest author for sites you already enjoy reading. The opportunities are endless.

What Advice Do You Have for Others That Want to Work in Social Media?

Read and keep reading. As I mentioned earlier, social media is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay up to date with trends. It’s the only way you’re going to have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and what opportunities are upcoming.

Combined with this, I suggest taking advantage of internships that allow you to get firsthand experience with social media. One of my internships out of college had me collecting press clips, building editorial lists, and mining for online content that would suit our clients. Sure, it wasn’t my dream job but it taught me how to get creative with my approach to writing for an online audience and understanding what resonates. I also got to work with people who had a broad knowledge base, making for a great learning experience. From there, you can only keep growing.

It’s safe to say that social media isn’t going anywhere, and nor should it! There are more and more opportunities to get involved with it on a professional level and you owe it to yourself to grab hold of them with both hands. You just might surprise yourself at how good it tastes to have your cake and eat it too.

Tiffany HarrisonTiffany Harrison @ttmharrison

Hailing from the Northern California Foothills, Tiffany Harrison holds a BA in Journalism Public Relations from California State University Chico. She first ignited her passion for meaningful travel by living abroad in Scotland, before then working in public relations in San Francisco. Tiffany now cultivates her skills with GoAbroad.com as the Outreach Manager. She is an avid tea-drinker who lives by the words of Jane Austen and considers her passport a map to discovering the world. Connect with Tiffany on her blog, What Would Jane Do?