Thursday, February 28, 2013

Social Media and the Job Search

Everyone knows the story of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg, a young all-American boy admitted to Harvard University who, with the help of a few friends, created and maintained this social network from his dorm room. He dropped out at the end of his sophomore year to continue building what would become a site boasting over one billion active users by the end of 2012.

We as members of the Technological Generation consider ourselves to be fluent in social media, but our professors and parents constantly talk about how detrimental it can be when searching for a job. Facebook and Twitter eliminate anonymity, but neither is going away, so our mission then becomes determining how to use social media to promote ourselves to potential employers.

A recent U.S. News Money article details ten ways to use social media in your job search, most notably of which is the notion of networking in order to create connections, and while that is without a doubt a crucial part of the post-graduation job search process, it is easy to overlook the connections that have been fostered through social media. The article states that Facebook can in some ways be more useful in job hunting than LinkedIn, because people you have a personal relationship with have more of a state in helping you, so use that to your advantage.

You should also make sure your Facebook profile is set to private. Really, go check—many things on your page are set to public by default, and you don’t want a potential employer going through your old pictures and posts. It doesn’t matter if your albums are full of wholesome family photographs. Take the time to check your privacy settings, and Facebook makes that really simple. According to a recent USA Today article, you can click on the lock icon in the tool bar, which brings up the Privacy Shortcuts menu, where you can manage who can see your stuff (pictures, posts, information, etc.), who can contact you, and how you can stop someone from bothering you. The article offers a myriad of other options to ensure privacy, and spending a few minutes reviewing those suggestions is critical in the job search process.

Also learn how to use social media for your own research purposes—perform a quick LinkedIn or Twitter search on the person you are interviewing with or a big-name person within a company. You can never have too much information going into an interview. Plus taking the time to do that emphasizes how important an opportunity this is for you, and interviewers enjoy speaking with people like that.

In summary, here is a list of the ten ways to utilize social media in your search mentioned in the article:

1. Let people know you're looking.
2. Don't be afraid to network on Facebook.
3. Make sure your Facebook profile is private. 
4. Find information about hiring managers.
5. Hyperlink your resume.
6. Be strategic with Facebook lists.
7. Create connections you need to get the job.
8. Get Google on your side.
9. Join industry chats on Twitter.
10. Seek out job-search advice. 

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