Everyone suggests using social media to help me with my job search. There are a lot of options out there, any advice?
We asked Steven Ehrlich, Global Vice President, Client Development at TMP Worldwide, the world’s leading recruitment advertising agency; and Becky Parson, Senior Project Manager, University Relations at AT&T, to respond.
“I urge all students to get actively involved,” says Steven. “While there are many choices, I recommend that every student establish a LinkedIn profile because it’s critical to start building a professional network while you are still in school.”
“Students and recent grads may have stayed away from LinkedIn in the past, but now it has become a key aspect of career searches,” says Becky. “The first thing I recommend is to fully complete your profile, and don’t leave anything off when it comes to your leadership activities from school and memberships in professional associations and student groups. Include athletics and any achievements that demonstrate ambition, drive and your competitive nature. Think carefully about what you put on LinkedIn; don’t publish or link to anything you don’t want employers to see.
“Ask others for recommendations. When people recognize that you are doing great things, they won’t mind spreading the word. Think about asking professors, academic advisors, leaders from organizations to which you belong, and co-workers.
“Don’t overlook LinkedIn groups. Find groups that align with what you are doing now and with what you want to do. Staying connected and having an active presence in LinkedIn groups are great ways to build your own personal career brand.
“Recruiters are very open to connecting with candidates, so it can become your way to get in their Rolodex. Avoid cluttering up your contacts’ inboxes and wasting their time. Also, don’t use groups for constant posts about your ‘need to find a job.’
“LinkedIn can be a good tool for researching prospective employers as well. Find out where people with your degree and background are working. Look for companies that employ people with your background by doing an advanced search for people in your area who have your skills. You also can examine company profiles to get more information on the career paths current employees took before working there. Often the paths that led to their employment can shed light on their previous skill sets. You can also follow the companies you are interested in working for, so that updates from that company show up on your homepage.
“Beyond LinkedIn there are many other social networking platforms, and I urge students to get involved with most of them,” says Steven. “There is no obligation to interact, you can learn a lot by just being there. My advice is to listen, engage and build relationships:
Listen: Look at a company’s presence on Facebook, follow its Twitter feed, get a feel for what the company is saying, and what people are saying about it. If you actually “listen” to the dialogue, you will get a sense of the culture and pulse of the organization. You can learn a lot through photos, videos, stories and feedback from users. This is a great starting point for your career search that can help form impressions and make decisions.
Engage: People often underestimate social media as a relationship builder. A decade ago, you could only look at a career site, but today it’s a two-way street. If you have specific questions, first search for the answers. Never ask a question that can be answered on the company’s website. If you send a well-thought-out question, you can usually get to the right place and get a response. Plus, you will get the added value of commentary from other users.
Build Relationships: The whole idea is to use conversation platforms to get your questions answered and build a relationship. And the earlier the better! For instance, if you are looking for an internship, consider how many of your friends who have already graduated are out in the workforce and connect with them.
“The whole idea is to leverage your connections as you build relevant relationships.”