Job search tips for college students: How to utilize Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

As a career coach and human resources professional, one of the questions college students ask me is, “Can social media sites help me find a job?” While most students are already aware of the idea of creating a basic LinkedIn profile, many have never considered using Facebook and Twitter to help them find the right internship or job. In today’s competitive job market, recruiters and hiring managers rely on these sites to locate and connect with new talent. Here are some HR insider tips on how to make these social media sites work for your job search.

LinkedIn

  • Create the right profile summary. When entering the job market, presentation is everything. This is true when you are starting your career. When it comes to your first LinkedIn profile, create a cohesive and meaningful site that showcases your experience base, including a summary of your employment history, internship(s) and relevant volunteer work. Every job (even the summer gig back home) is an opportunity to demonstrate skills that can be transferable to an internship or that first big job after graduation. Use your resume as your guide and include quantifiable results that highlight your accomplishments. (For suggestions on how to use an accomplishment-based resume, check out our post on resume quick tips.)
  • Use keywords. Although recruiters may receive hundreds of resumes for an open position, often there are very few candidates within that mix who are actually qualified to fill the job. For this reason, recruiters often use sites such as LinkedIn to “mine” for candidates who have the skills and experience they are looking for. They conduct these searches using industry and job-specific keywords. For this reason, using the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile can bring recruiters to you. The Careersolvers blog offers some great information on how keywords work and how to strategically use them in your job search tools.
  • Start securing recommendations. When evaluating students and recent graduates, recruiters and hiring managers recognize you won’t have a long, detailed work history. Instead, they look for a track record of reliability and professionalism. If you have a LinkedIn profile that contains a series of positive recommendations from employers, professors, coaches or other professionals, they are going to want to learn more about you.
  • Get active in professional associations. Posting questions and replying to queries from individuals within LinkedIn groups can increase your network of potential contacts and increase your visibility to recruiters. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate your passion and knowledge for the field you are interested in working in — a quality that is highly valued by employers and something that is a true competitive advantage for students starting out in their career. To learn how to connect with groups that are of interest to you, check out LinkedIn’s quick how-to video.

Twitter

  • Participate in free weekly career chat forums. Twitter chats are an ideal method to connect real time with career experts and recruiters. Offered on a weekly basis, these events bring together job seekers, HR professionals and recruiters to discuss job search strategies and career advice. Check out CareerRocketeer’s November 2010 blog post “What Twitter Chats Can Do For Your Job Search” for some great tips on how to get started using these chats.
  • Introduce yourself. The job search is not the time to be shy. To expand your network, follow professional recruiters and take the time to introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect. Recruiters are on sites such as Twitter for exactly that reason. (Locate these professionals by conducting a search using the keyword #recruiter.)
  • Link to your LinkedIn profile. In your Twitter profile, include the URL to your LinkedIn site. This link will help interested recruiters and hiring managers get connected to you more quickly.

Facebook

  • Become a fan. Did you know that like Twitter, Facebook is also a place to connect directly to recruiters? As Ryan Lytle notes in his November 2011 usnews.com post, “5 Tips for College Students Using Facebook for the Job Search,” companies such as American Express actively have recruiters who monitor their company’s Facebook page and interact with candidates interested in opportunities with their company. Therefore, you can “like” companies you are interested in working for and respond to their updates and posts. The principle is the same as getting involved in LinkedIn groups. What better way to get your name in front of those who are decision makers when it comes to your resume?
  • Use the Facebook Marketplace. Many Facebook users are unaware that the site offers a “marketplace” of online advertisements—including a section for job postings. As more companies continue to use Facebook to connect with candidates, they will be posting their jobs on the site. To find these postings, simply click on the “Marketplace” icon, and then click on “Jobs.”
  • Take advantage of the new timeline. While you may keep certain aspects of your Facebook information private, your headline will remain public and visible to recruiters and potential employers. Use this feature to your advantage by keeping your education and work status up to date. Include information on other languages you speak and ensure that your photos present you in the best possible light to potential employers.

Making yourself known to the company is sometimes half the battle. Your employer is sure to be on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook—you better believe you should be too!

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