Are You Online?: How Social Media Can Help You Land Your Dream Job
How many hours do you spend on Facebook or Twitter every week? Now how about LinkedIn?
No matter where you are in your college career, landing the ideal job can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. But that doesn’t mean it has to be!
In today’s competitive job market who you know matters, and lucky for us, making connections to the very professionals we hope hire us isn’t as crazy as we may think.
During a lecture, Columbia University’s first ever Chief Digital Officer, Professor Sree Sreenivasan, explained key things that a college student needs to know about social media and why your online presence is so crucial in landing job opportunities.
He emphasized how important it is that students maximize their potential via social media outlets, because it is one of the most effective—and easy ways— to attract company recruiters and hiring possibilities.
One of the most important things to have when you’re beginning your job search is the right mindset. Professor Sreenivasan explains that you need to think beyond simply job-hunting. Instead think about “career management,” or in other words, think strategically about career choices and keep goals in mind. Every step should be viewed as one towards your ambitions.
By thinking long-term, you’re not only setting yourself up to get hired by a company you see yourself at now, but you’re also giving yourself the opportunity to build a network of connections that will one day help you get your ideal job.
“You have got to build your network when you don’t need it so you have one when you do,” Sreenivasan said.
He said it’s extremely important to take every opportunity to meet others, talk to people, and network. Also, though it might be obvious, always be nice to people and never burn bridges. The contacts you make matter—because you never know when a connection will help you.
In today’s digitally connected world, it’s becoming increasingly essential that students use online networking in combination with more traditional networking methods.
Sreenivasan said, “We need to be asking ourselves, are there ways in which we can use traditional networking in combination with new kinds of networking methods?”
College students looking for jobs overlook how important LinkedIn profiles are in their professional careers. Yet, an online presence can make or break potential employers’ first impression of you—even before they meet you in person.
“It’s very good to be on [LinkedIn] in this day and age,” Sreenivasan said. “Your Google results define who you are, and people are looking at your online profile. So if you’re a college student or older and don’t have a profile there’s a problem.”
Sreenivasan said it’s always better to have a LinkedIn profile than to not have one, because even if you don’t have tons of work experience, you can list interests and extracurricular activities that act as conversation pieces and set you a part from other candidates.
Being able to identify yourself in a way that makes potential employers want to have a conversation with you increases your chances of standing out.
Your LinkedIn profile should reflect your best and most current work because as Sreenivasan said, “It’s your online resume and it will get seen a hundred times more time than your regular resume.”
Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to show case why you should be hired to more professionals than you could ever possibly meet in person.
The networking site also helps you connect with professionals in your desired field and research targeted companies’ pages and the profiles of their employers. It also allows companies and recruiters to find you based on your qualifications.
How awesome would it be to get an offer straight from LinkedIn? All majors can benefit from creating profiles. Columbia University senior and Art History major Julie Hall said the time she put in to her LinkedIn profile paid off and helped her attract both connections and job offers.
“I have people message me on LinkedIn asking me if I want to interview for jobs, and that’s because I really have focused my LinkedIn resume and made connections with people I’ve interned for or any of my fellow interns at work,” Hall said. “it has helped me make connections and maintain them.”
When you’re creating your profile, remember, every word counts. Be sure to have a clear, recent photo of yourself.
“All social media does is reflect and amplify who you are in real life,” Sreenivasan said. “If you’re good in real life, you can be great in social media.”
So take the time and effort to create the best possible digital story about yourself because it’s the most important story you’ll ever tell.
And finally, never forget that employers will see everything you put online, even on websites like Facebook and Twitter.
Students must exhibit tremendous judgment on all social media avenues because once it’s online— it’s there to stay. So utilize your privacy settings, and know that social media is no longer a place to post candidly because anything could cost you a job one day.
But just as social media can ruin your reputation, it can also make it. As Sreenivasan said, get out there, and give people a good reason to remember you.