It has started movements large and small – from revolutions to relationships. You’re totally addicted to it and possibly annoyed by it, but you can’t escape it. The “it” we are referring to is the tool (and possible weapon) of social media – the same social media that has companies drooling over new advertising forums and Charlie Sheen entering the next “Guinness Book of World Records.” Everyone is doing it, and we think it’s time college students take advantage of all the capabilities social media has to offer. No matter what field you enter after graduation, in this increasingly competitive work force, you need to rise above the rest.
We need to be on top of news, networking and, above all, we need to be able to sell our greatest commodity – ourselves.
Using social media for the professional setting can be as simple as creating an online résumé or publishing your thoughts on Kanye West’s artistry. Mediums like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr are great platforms for promotion. You may know how they work, but you need to know how they can work for you.
That’s where we come in. This is our guide on how to use social media as a tool to market yourself – without looking like a tool.
LinkedIn is your most professional source for online networking. With an account, you can post your résumé, expand upon your activities and connect with classmates and colleagues from past, present and possible future jobs.
Ray Curbelo, a fourth-year operations management and finance student, says: “LinkedIn’s like a professional Facebook. I like it because I can see what the people I’ve worked with are up to.”
Remember your supervisor from last summer’s internship who had contacts at ESPN? If you’ve lost touch and feel that the potential opportunity was lost, LinkedIn can solve that predicament. No more writing awkward e-mails to former coworkers you haven’t spoken to in months. Use a LinkedIn request to segue into a professional one.
Don’t be afraid to connect with people, even those you’ve just met. This resource is a great way to really establish that relationship, and no one minds being connected with you on LinkedIn because it’s not an intrusion on his or her personal life.
The downside to LinkedIn is that it’s boring and easy to forget you have an account. Make sure you keep your profile updated. Adding your last internship could pique the interest of someone who may just be the person that leads you to your next job. Even someone like a distant relative might have connections he would not have thought to mention to you. Recently, the site added a daily newspaper comprised of what the executives and CEOs of your favored industries are reading. Keeping track of their interests is smart especially during the dreaded interview season.
By now you’ve noticed the blue bird, the resurrection of the numeric symbol and the constant streaming of tweets on the news. But just what is Twitter? Many students are skeptical of the concept.
Michelle Fantone, a fourth-year political science and sociology student says she doesn’t use Twitter.
“I don’t really care what people have to say all the time,” she says.
Au contraire, Twitter is a great way to access news updates, articles and to follow campus activities and friends. We tweeted former student body vice president @taycain, and she said of Twitter: “@garnetandblack It’s 140 characters worth of a chance to make what you’re doing matter. Being able to get others to care takes talent.”
The most powerful aspect of Twitter is your timeline; it’s not as important what you tweet, but who you follow. Keep up with @nytimes, @cnn and other news sources to stay on top of news instantly. Professionally, find your favorite companies and follow them; you could end up with your dream job.
Many businesses utilize Twitter to publicize open positions and offer suggestions about the application process. Not only are openings constantly reposted by firms, but coupons, sales and even opportunities to reply for chances to win @dealsplus are common. Articles retweeted by businesses help you stay informed in regard to the way they are portrayed in the news and what they specifically find interesting.
Ariel Dunsmoor, a fourth-year marketing student, says she recently joined Twitter in hopes of getting a job with Saatchi UK. This advertising agency claimed it would hire and relocate the top 250 candidates who had the most creativity, followers, retweets and mentions on Twitter.
Show you are a go-getter by retweeting articles you like and reach out to businesses and people by tagging them in your tweets with the @ symbol. Use the # hashtag symbol before an important word or phrase with no spaces in order to highlight a possible trending topic. Here’s a simple tweet: “Thank you @Cocky for all you do for #carolinasports.”
Some advice on form and function: Make your page theme clean and minimal, and keep your mini-bio career-centered. Don’t waste energy tweeting about mundane activities like brushing your teeth. Prospective employers can and will read what you say. Don’t clutter your tweets with hashtags. “I love #summer #sun #people” is not an effective tweet. Don’t “protect” your tweets. If you do, companies and people you wish to mention cannot read what you say unless they already follow you. Needless to say, Apple and Justin Bieber are not going to request to follow you. By allowing companies access to your tweets, you show you are an open-minded individual with lots of ideas. If privacy (aka #kinkytweets) is really that important to you, then create separate personal and professional accounts. Just don’t mix them up.
Tumblr is microblogging at its finest. It’s the accessibility of a blog fused with the brevity and rapidity of Twitter.
Take your Twitter dashboard, subtract the status updates and think of the links to photos, videos and articles as embedded items you can view without having to click away. Given the 140-character limit on Twitter, if you want to elaborate further on a tweet, you can link to your Tumblr.
The most important function? Reblogging.
If your followers like what you post, they can reblog (similar to retweeting) it for all of their followers to see and so on and so forth.
Many younger-generation companies use Tumblr to showcase new ideas and announcements. If you’re informed, it could be a turning point in an interview if you come in with ideas to expand upon a company’s vision and platform.
You can also reblog these companies’ posts, adding your own notes for feedback. A few examples of companies that have Tumblrs are Kate Spade (katespadeny.tumblr.com) and “The Today Show” (today.tumblr.com). Companies even ask questions on Tumblr, and when you reply, they can immediately click on your profile – so make sure you’ve got some of your best works and ideas up on your Tumblr. Get your name known.
For artists, Tumblr is a good way to display your work to possible clients. For non-artists, post pics of that semiconductor you’ve run experiments on or publish your econ paper for reader approval concerning the healthcare crisis.
A time-saving trick: Link Facebook and Twitter with your Tumblr, so that Tumblr posts are visible in both feeds.
Most of us generally know how to use Facebook. If you’ve seen “The Social Network,” you know the site functions to keep you interested and ridiculously informed about the headlines and minute details of everyone’s life. But in the same respect, you’re letting everyone know about your life as well – and trust us; you can definitely judge a person by his or her profile.
Think of your profile as a résumé with personality and a ton of personal references in the form of photos you’re tagged in and statuses you post. Make the most of features you use every day; tag businesses and colleagues in your statuses just like you do with Twitter. If you have a website, post a link to it in the captions of your photos. If you’re really ambitious, create a Page for yourself – but leave the mirror headshots out.
Sean Betran, a fourth-year political science student, uses Facebook to market himself and his organization, the College Republicans.
“All event-planning is done via Facebook because we had to go where the people are, and we’re in college, so that means they’re on Facebook,” he says.
The best way to keep your Facebook professional-friendly is to utilize the number of filters/privacy options Facebook gives you. Separating all of your friends into lists is helpful. You can categorize by good friends, acquaintances, professionals, employers, current colleagues and anything else of which you can think (past hook-ups, people you despise more than Gaddafi and that guy from band camp who randomly chats you).
Once these lists are established, you can set up filters and privacy options for each list. For example, you might want to block professionals from seeing all the stupid stuff your friends post to your wall (sneezing cat photos, Dom Mazzetti videos and your nickname of “Waste Case”). Companies will not be able to write on your wall either, but most professional relationships revolve around assembling information.
Take advantage of Facebook’s dynamic apps. If you’re in a band, check out BandPage. This app allows Facebook to compete with MySpace as a space for bands to promote themselves. The “Causes” app lets you raise money for projects by inviting your FB friends to contribute (and, no, your “booze cruise” does not count). Utilizing these features enables you to publish impressive humanitarian numbers on your résumé in regard to how much you raised for the pelicans in the Gulf.
Whichever ones you choose to use, these social media resources are the best tools for broadcasting your successes and talents. Building your online presence can expose you to a plethora of employment opportunities.
You may even gain enough followers to become the Tila Tequila of the modern media world.