Advice for Employers and Recruiters
3 online networking tips
As a college student, you might be an expert at using social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Whisper for connecting with friends and communicating about day-to-day life, but do you admittedly need guidance when it comes to networking online for professional reasons? It’s one thing to post pictures of your weekend adventures with your best friends—it’s another to reach out to your social network for assistance when conducting your first full-time job or internship search.
This brief video featuring Career and Disability Services Coordinator, Rebecca Warren, of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, highlights three simple tips for making the most of social media when networking online for professional purposes.
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1) Clean up your social media pages, profiles, and online presence before becoming active in your job search.
Networking online via social media for professional purposes is a different animal than using social media for personal reasons. Make sure everything you post (or have visible and set to “public”) is appropriate; would you feel comfortable with the content being seen by an employer or by someone listed as a job reference? If not, delete it. Delete statuses and posts including curse words and long rants, Tweets with awful grammar, and photos portraying you in a negative or scandalous light. The rule of thumb is to always yourself positively and professionally, particularly when conducting a job search. Don’t begin the online networking process until you’ve taken this first step.
2) Let your existing network know you are preparing to begin a job search.
Let your contacts—friends, family, and other contacts you are already connected to online– know about your career field (which is probably related to your college major), where your interests lie, where you have completed internships, etc. Be careful when reaching out; when networking online, you never want to demand assistance or seem pushy, arrogant, or nonchalant. When asking for assistance in your job search, attempt to come across as gracious and patient. Remember, your social media contacts are under no obligation to assist you—expressing gratitude for any act of support or assistance is always a good idea!
Your social network will grow based on the people your existing connections know.
“If your existing network online doesn’t know you’re conducting a job search, they can’t help you,” says Rebecca Warren.
If you build the support of your initial contacts, you already have many people cheering you on before you even begin.
3) Connect online via social media with professional groups in your field.
Many professional organizations host pages or groups on social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook, and some even host weekly online Twitter discussions. Connecting with professional organizations and getting involved in discussions requires effort on your part, but this work pays off. You never know when a member of a group might know about an unlisted job opening or an upcoming job opening within his organization. If you are regularly participating in online discussions and making intelligent contributions to discussions, the member may reach out to you about the job opening.
Networking online is similar to networking face-to-face; it’s an ongoing process, and it’s about relationships. Whether you’re using social media apps or participating in professional groups and discussion boards, simply treat people professionally and with common courtesies, and you’ll find your online network growing exponentially.
To begin practicing these three great tips for using social media to your advantage in your job search, visit College Recruiter on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
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