The No. 1 rule you learn coming out of college is that whether it’s a job, an interview, or a study abroad program, it is all about who you know. Always network with people, take their business cards, express your interest, send them a thank-you email…
However, with the rise of social media, the process of networking became so much more efficient and easier for recruiters and job seekers. During career fair time, I was very shocked to find out that more than half of my graduating class had a Facebook account, but never used or created a LinkedIn account. Social media is perceived by many as a fun, time-passing activity — you can pin your favorite blogs, upload pictures from your recent trip, or stay in touch with friends overseas — but people tend to miss that the same model applies in your professional life, too.
Social media is nothing but another way to market yourself to potential employers. For instance, upon finishing my first year with a consumer product company, I realized that my interests lay in operations management (OM) rather than process engineering. I expressed my interest over LinkedIn, and within a couple of weeks I got contacted by two recruiters from two different companies to be considered for a summer internship in the OM domain. In addition, since I was looking for a full-time job, I was invited by recruiters to apply to companies and consider different positions that meet my interests.
The point is, social media is today’s most efficient way to network and market yourself. It is used heavily by recruiters and managers to spot and attract talent. However, you cannot just create an account and expect to land your dream job. Here are a few tricks I have used with social media that made my job hunting experience easier and way more efficient.
How to Personalize Your Page for Recruiters
For your summary section on sites like Facebook and Twitter, talk briefly about your background (education, graduation date, college major) and include a separate paragraph where you briefly list what you are looking for (internship, coop, full-time position) and your dates of availability. (Given its 140 character count limit, I know this might be hard on Twitter, but it’s up to you to decide what’s most important!)
On sites like LinkedIn, your professional page should not be a copy-paste version of your resume. The page should be clear enough for a recruiter to quickly spot whether or not you are fit for the position they are filling. On LinkedIn as well as Facebook, always list a couple of sentences about the relevant work you’ve done at every position. If possible, try to quantify your achievements with numbers, percentages and billable hours.
Finally, on both sites, always talk about the key points you have learned at your job. Fill out the entire page, not just the experience or “about” section. List your hobbies and extracurricular activities. What differentiates you from other candidates? Recruiters look for people with passion and commitment to organizations and causes. Do not be shy about your fluency in languages or the awards and recognitions you have obtained over the course of your education — though make sure you remain humble!
Finally, upon completing an internship or a job, kindly ask your mentor/boss/colleague/manager if they could recommend you on LinkedIn. These recommendations will give other recruiters more insight into your expertise and work ethic.
How to Market Yourself Online
“Follow” and “Like” companies. LinkedIn allows you to follow companies to be updated about their job opportunities and changes in the market. Once you follow these companies, you increase your chances of being spotted by recruiters.
Look at other people’s profiles. If your dream job is to become the next LVMH production manager, follow LVMH and check other manager’s pages on LinkedIn and Facebook (if possible). LinkedIn allows its users to track who has seen their page in the last month. The more you check people’s pages, the higher the chance of them checking yours in return.
If you find someone with your ideal job and you believe they can be a great insight to your dream company, don’t be shy — send them an email. If you are bold enough, ask them if they can allocate time for a quick phone meeting for questions you have regarding the company.
After you attend a networking dinner, always add the recruiters and the employees you have met on LinkedIn (make sure not to send them an automatic message; personalize it
and include the name of the event where you met them). This not only shows that you are serious about the company, but also allows the employers to match the picture with the name and thus remember you better. The same applies to in-person interviews!
Always be professional, especially with your profile picture (no bikini shots!). Recruiters scan your social media pages and read every detail, so make sure you use spell-check and be honest about your experiences and interests. Include your address and contact information, such as phone number and email.
Do you worry about keeping your social media profiles in-check professionally? Tell us in the comments.