The following is written by Mandy Reinig, a mentor for the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program and Director of International Education at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
In today’s world social media is a vital tool not only for communication but also for interaction. This interaction can often result in new connections and greater research on basically any topic out there. Most people are using at least one social media tool, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more to tell their stories, expound about their experiences traveling, share their opinions, and expand their networks. Smart individuals are also using HootSuite to manage their time on all these social media channels; but, this is a topic for another blog.
One of the most interesting uses for social media relates to the job search process. While I don’t need to talk about all the benefits of using social media for the job search process to a group of tech savvy people, I do want to talk about some of the dos and don’ts as it relates to using social media for promotion of one’s self. One of my biggest recommendations for not only the job search process but also in general, is to never post anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. My general rule is to not post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see or read. Now if your grandma is extremely liberal you may not want to use her as your measuring stick. But you get the idea.
Privacy settings are also extremely important. It is important to remember that everything you post on the internet stays on the internet (such as the above post), even if you delete it. However, you can make it more difficult for people to find your photos, posts, etc. by making sure you set your privacy settings at an appropriate level. For example, make sure you don’t have your Facebook posts set to public. This means that they can be searched for on the internet. Instead, make them set to either your friends or friends of friends. All social media tools have varying degrees of privacy settings but you should be familiar with what your options are.
If you use social media you should be using it to be a part of the community and not simply to obtain a job; people can tell the difference. You need to make sure you are adding value to the conversation. This value could mean adding information, sharing the information, etc.; but, it means contributing to the conversations in some way. From there you can connect with like-minded colleagues, research potential jobs, fields, and employers, and create a name for yourself within your chosen field. If you are a HootSuite user, like myself, you will find that the process of spreading the word and connecting is made easier by the ability to post to multiple social media channels all at the same time as well as moderate all of these social media options from one website. HootSuite also facilitates the process of finding your community. You can search who is tweeting on a certain subject in your area with the geo-targeting feature, or follow the conversation of a specific hashtag related to your interests.You are also able to filter Klout scores of individuals and gage who the major influencers of your community are.
Now that you have created your community, here are a few tips and tricks to keep you on the right path. When using Twitter remember to be kind – retweet – and say thanks. You will be surprised how many new followers and interactions you generate from this simple gesture. With HootSuite you can easily track your conversations by seeing exactly which tweet is responding to what, and making sure no mentions and RTs are missed with the Stream preferences.
LinkedIn has become the social media tool of choice for the job search. When using this tool remember to have a professional head shot and develop your elevator pitch. You need to learn to be succinct but descriptive. Also, don’t be too picky in who you connect with. If they relate to your chosen field don’t be afraid of asking to connect; but, don’t use the standard invitation message. Be unique and say something about either how you met them or how you connect with them. HootSuite has also recently added new LinkedIn features to their social media dashboard which makes using the platform more functional and efficient.
My final piece of advice as someone who has seen hundreds of resumes and been highly active on social media is to not be afraid to be yourself. You are probably pretty neat and don’t need to stretch to interact or say something that doesn’t match with your personality. Believe me – those of us on social media can tell the difference – between true interaction and fake interaction. Finally, have fun. Social media has and will always be about interaction and interaction should be fun!
Feel free to tweet me @mandysmashups