Making Social Media Work for You: Utilizing Social Media in the Job Search Process

May 08, 2013

By Mandy Reinig

Many people are using social media for personal and professional reasons. Everyone knows that social media platforms are powerful tools. However, not many people are putting their social media use to work for them and using the power of social media to aid them in their job search. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way and make your social media use work for you.

  • Post to add value to conversations, not simply to be on social media. Diehard social media users can tell the difference.
  • Don't post anything on any social media platform that you wouldn't be willing to say to someone's face. Remember nothing is truly private when it is posted online.
  • Use your social media platforms to connect with colleagues as well as like-minded individuals.
  • Remember to use social media etiquette. For example, when someone mentions you or retweets you on twitter, you should say “thanks.”
  • Don't embellish your accomplishments; again, people can tell the difference and it is better to be as honest as possible. However, this doesn't mean you can't create a newsworthy headline or slogan for your page. This works especially well for LinkedIn.
  • Don't be afraid to ask to connect to people but don't use the generic “friend” messages. Let people know either how you are connected or why you want to connect with them.
  • Attend TweetUps (Like #NAFSA13's TweetUps) to meet your fellow social media users face to face.
  • Use social media to research companies you want to work for. However, this doesn't mean that you should send a message to every employee using social media for a company.
  • Make sure to adjust your privacy settings. You don't want those college frat party photos to leak out. On that note, you may want to clean up your profiles and delete those frat party photos from your various social media channels. That is not the first impression you want to make with a potential employer.
  • Always ask yourself before you post “would I want my grandma to read this?” If the answer is “no,” then don't post. (Now, if your grandma is a liberal woman you may not want to use this as your meter, but you get the idea.)
  • Remember you must be consistent with your social media use. You cannot simply post once or twice or expect to create an account and have the followers come to you. Social media does not work that way. Social media is work and you need to work at it. You must post regularly to be considered part of a community and to generate interaction.

In the end, social media use is what you make of it. But it can aid you in the dreaded job search process--not only in terms of a research tool, but in the fact that you never know where your fellow tweeps or followers may end up one day. Remember to keep at it and don't be afraid to seek out interaction. I hope to see you at NAFSA's 2013 Annual Conference in St. Louis. Feel free to follow me @mandysmashups.

Mandy Reinig is the director of international education at St. Mary's College of Maryland and founder of Mandy's Mashups, a social media for international education company.