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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beginners Tips on Job Searching via Social Media

It’s about that time of year again: seniors register for their last semester of college and the harsh reality of graduation slaps them in the face. Currently, I am among that group of students. I planned out my classes for spring 2011 and realized the only thing left to do was to start looking for a job.

Oh crap.

I wouldn’t say I’m a square one with my job search; I get feeds sent to my e-mail every day with new internships and entry level positions. I scour the Twitter and Facebook pages for job opportunities with most of the PR agencies in Minneapolis. I’ve learned a thing or two, especially using social media job for my job hunt. With the reality of impending graduation and as the “real world” awaits me, I’ve come to prepare myself a little better than I give myself credit for. For those just starting out looking for a job using social media outlets, or even for those looking for another take on it, I’ve gotten a few ideas together on the dos and don’ts of job searching via social media.

DON’T let your page scream “I partied HARD in college!”

This one should be obvious: take down or un-tag yourself in incriminating pictures of “that one really crazy night”. We always hear that once it’s on the internet, it will never go away. So, at least make inappropriate photos harder to find. Employers don’t want see how little clothing you wore on Halloween night dressed as a “sexy cop” or the photo proof that you actually did make out with the homecoming queen at your frat party. So yes, go take down that profile picture of your “epic keg stand” from last weekend ASAP.
DO utilize every social media outlet available

We get it. You’re addicted to Facebook. Now get addicted to Twitter. If you never really understood the point Twitter or you’ve heard of it but never got into it because your friends don’t use it, too bad, go set one up right now. Make it your homepage. Use it on your phone. Look at it 100 times a day. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, all communications professionals have a twitter and surprise (!), they actually know to use it and use it often. I get all my communications news from people I follow on twitter, and I’m a lot more social media savvy and connected because of it. Even if your friends don’t use it, start following people in the business. Here are a few of my favorite twitter news sources to get you started:

Media bistro: @mbtweetfeed
PR Newser: @PRNewser
Flack Me: @flack_me
Ryan May: @mnpr
Fast Horse Inc: @Fast_Horse
Sara Evans: @prsaraevans
Just for fun:
Flavorpill: @flavorpill
(Then google Minneapolis/St. Paul PR agencies and follow every single one)

DO Blog Away

Blogging is scary. However, not only can getting yourself connected with communications blogs be a way to gain contacts and friends you otherwise would not have the chance to meet, you can use it as a way to differentiate yourself from other applicants going after the same job as you. Communications employers expect you to be connected, and it helps if there are little pieces of yourself on the internet for them to get a real sense of who you are, not just the you from your resume or your polished suited-up self during your interview. Blogging gives you a voice and provides a real life outlet for your writing abilities, which we all know is very important.

Here are a couple great blogs to get you started:
Everything PR:
Flack Me:
Communications Conversations:
Idea Peepshow:
For more info on how to use a social media to find a job, check out this article from Mashable (another great blog!)

Chelsey Johnson
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment