Social networking Web sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming increasingly useful not only in staying connected with friends, but also in promoting job skills and exploring career options.
Gary Allan Miller, University Career Services assistant director, said students should figure out which medium works best for them and establish an online presence, which could help them in securing a job in the future.
Miller said about 80 percent of hiring managers are using social mediums to screen job applicants.
At a time when jobs are difficult to find, students should do their best to take advantage of social-networking Web sites, he said.
He has been trying to educate students through a workshop titled “Personal branding, new media and you career,” and through 12-minute instructional videos he posts on his Twitter account, Miller said.
“The aim is to help them find a platform that makes sense for them,” he said. Miller added that it’s possible none of these three mediums work for a student.
“It all depends on the student’s interest. If you’re in a visual career, maybe you need to be on YouTube,” he said. “Students have to explore the range of possibilities that are out there.”
Keep it classy on Facebook
It is hard to use Facebook strictly for professional use, Miller said.
Hiring managers rarely check the Web site to look for applicants’ job skills, but they do check profiles and pictures to know more about the applicant.
Pictures that show underage drinking and other inappropriate behavior could be damaging to one’s chances of getting a job.
“If they find nothing, they find nothing, but if they find something, why not make it a positive thing?” he asked.
Tweet professionally on Twitter
Miller said most students are suspicious of using Twitter professionally.
“They think of it as a Facebook update, which it’s not, and then they see the celebrity junk and don’t think it’s professional,” he said.
Miller said students can market their job skills in a quick and easy way using Twitter.
He said he has been doing the same thing in promoting UCS by tweeting tips for students and developing a base of 400 followers, most of which are UNC students.
Explore careers on LinkedIn
Miller said that LinkedIn is probably the best for marketing and exploring careers and that students need to find the Web site’s “hidden gems.”
Students can find career-related groups, discuss issues and search for jobs and internships.
“Usually people set up a profile and that’s all they do. There’s a whole section of useful groups that people miss,” he said.
“No matter how nichey your career path, you can find a group connected to do that.”