Social media is often seen as a distraction. Many businesses ban the use of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest in an effort to keep their employees focused and not wasting time and money.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, Harvard Business Review released a study suggesting social media use promotes productivity. Personally, I find a five or ten minute break to catch up on social media is just what my brain needs after working on a project for hours. Twitter is truly an invaluable networking opportunity and resource when used effectively.
Direct Access to Companies and People
This makes sense from the perspective of a job seeker—social media is like a golden ticket. There is a very good chance that a company you want to work for has a social media presence and if you can access it, you should. As soon as you set up an account, you can keep up with your desired company’s latest news, projects, and of course, job openings. Many companies ask their followers or fans questions and are happy to interact. Try retweeting, liking, and reblogging your dream companies, and you’ll get on their radars. This is a good time to make sure wherever you’re interacting with these companies is a work-friendly outlet; make sure the site is entirely professional, and that your privacy settings are air tight.
P.S. Nothing screams “competent” like bringing up a current tidbit of news about the company once you land that coveted interview.
Good Old-fashioned Networking
My favorite outlet for career opportunities is Twitter. I use Twitter exclusively for networking, and it has been an invaluable tool in a variety of projects. I follow companies and people I have worked for, currently work for, hope to work for, and admire to keep up with the most recent developments. I feel so much more like I’m being heard using Twitter than when I email a company.
While writing for the Health and Fashion sections at College Lifestyles, I used Twitter to promote my articles and to forge new business relationships with companies we wanted to bring into the CL family. I was able to secure two businesses to work with me on a product review of summer totes and I still keep in touch with them today through Twitter.
More Opportunities on the Job
For another article at CL, I interviewed Carly Heitlinger, now Director of New Media at Levo League, who I knew as my favorite blogger at The College Prepster blog. I had emailed Carly, but after a couple of weeks without reply I assumed she just got busy, but I did not give up. I decided to reach out via Twitter. I heard back immediately and we wrapped up the interview in about a week.
Another opportunity to write on a topic I love also came from Twitter. In addition to CL and Levo, I also write for the blog called The Street Fighters of Public Health. I scored that sweet success by tweeting to them to ask about joining the team. That’s the power of asking!
Getting Your Dream Job
One of my dream jobs (#1 right now!) would be to work for the superhero public health firm called John Snow, Inc. I call myself a JSI fangirl because it’s true; I like them on Facebook, I check their website and their awesome blog The Pump regularly, I have a Google Alert for the most up-to-date JSI news, and I follow them on Twitter. I get so inspired by their work that I probably retweet and reply to the majority of their posts. I’m always among the first to respond if they ask for follower feedback, and I’m happy to help them in any way I can. I also networked the old fashioned way (through a family member) and scored a sweet informational interview at their DC headquarters. Since then I’ve kept in touch through Twitter and LinkedIn, and my dream of working there seems a lot closer.
As long as your sites are professional and used with purpose, social media can be an incredibly valuable asset to your career.
Have you ever gotten an opportunity through social media? Tell us your story in the comments!
Ask Tracy Cioffi, Vice President of Marketing at See’s Candies, how she uses social media!