Social Media Guide
Social Media: A guide to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
Social Media is no longer optional for job seekers; it has become an integral part of career services offices throughout the country. According to a 2009 Career Builder survey, 45% of employers use social media to screen potential candidates and this percentage is growing. These employers are looking to see students’ communication skills, professional demeanor, how well rounded they are, and skills and assets they may possess. Therefore, one of the most essential skills for the 21st century job seeker is an understanding of how to use social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Facebook can be used to network with professional connections that students have made in the past, to enter into a dialogue with new connections, and to share a wealth of information. Although many prefer to use Facebook for social networking, with the demographic of Facebook users changing, this trend has shifted. The number of Facebook users over age 25 has significantly increased, ComScore reports an 181% increase in users in the 25-34 year old demographic and a 98% increase in those 35 years and older. It is crucial for students and alumni to use Facebook correctly for professional networking.
For students and alumni who wish to use Facebook for social networking solely, it is imperative that they use LinkedIn, the most professionally oriented social media site, for career networking. LinkedIn, with 75 million registered users, is as great a networking and job search resource for those who are just starting a job search as it is for experienced professionals.
It is a learning tool that allows users to establish new business relationships by joining alumni, industry, professional and/or other relevant groups affiliated with their current university/college, alma mater, industry and/or job function. Through these connections, users pose questions, learn about resources, and share ideas with colleagues from other organizations around the world. LinkedIn also allows users to research companies where they may be interested in working as well as find jobs, and determine where someone with similar qualifications has gained employment.
Like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter can also be used to network with individuals and companies. Similar to Instant Messaging, Twitter allows you to publish/post short messages. Unlike Instant Messaging, Twitter allows you to have an unlimited audience. Twitter is designed for one to share their interests, ask questions, and demonstrate ones skills and talents. Although Twitter does release the exact number of users, it is believed that somewhere between 3 and 6 million people use Twitter on a daily basis. Since Twitter is the newest form of social media, user numbers aren’t as high as Facebook or LinkedIn, however used correctly it can be an effective tool for learning about new job opportunities and getting yourself noticed when you are searching and applying for jobs. You can gain industry specific information by following career leaders.
If all these tools are used to their fullest capacity; students and alumni can network with classmates, faculty, friends, and family; find new opportunities for internships and full time positions; and manage what potential employers learn. Effective use of Social Media will enable them to become a strong force in today’s struggling economy.