Using Social Media During Your Job Search
Social media can be used for more than just scrolling, liking and catching up. It has become a valuable tool that can be used to find jobs, internships and make professional connections. Kent State’s social media team spoke with Olivia Fossesca, communication specialist for Kent State’s Career Exploration and Development (CED) office, on how to use social media effectively during the job search process. Check out her advice, and maybe social media will help you find your dream job!
Q: How can social media help students and recent graduates land a job post-graduation?
A: There are so many ways: networking and building relationships, finding jobs online, and interview tips. We've seen success from plenty of our students.
Not every story has to include an element of going viral to be successful, but using social media can certainly be a way to stand out. Creativity goes such a long way! Employers love to see it because it shows that you're genuinely interested and willing to bring innovative ideas to the team.
Q: What tips would you give students regarding social media and job hunting?
A: Make sure you're aware of all that's out there and take advantage of resources. I know it may sound daunting, but spend some time researching jobs, industries and companies that sound interesting to you.
Don't get discouraged. Bigger candidate pools can lead to less success, but it's going to steer you toward the best-fit job for you. Be patient and give yourself (and others) grace! Remember that your job or career success does not define your worth.
Q: Are there dos and don'ts when it comes to using social media as a student/recent graduate?
A: Try to keep it professional because you never know who will see the content you put out there—taking advantage of the private account setting while job searching is a way to keep your social media private!
Q: Who in a company can students reach out to on social media? What are the best platforms to reach out to that person?
A: The best person to reach out to is someone who shares something in common with you! This can be a mutual connection, someone in a similar field or area of study. Or even someone with a common interest. Think back to how you started some of the relationships in your life now... it’s most likely due to some common ground.
LinkedIn is a great networking resource! Not only because people are active on the platform but also because people expect to have professional conversations. Social media reflects how conversations adapt to the environment surrounding them, and LinkedIn offers a professional environment to have those conversations. That doesn't mean that other platforms should never be used to network. You just have to be cautious navigating the different environments and be sure not to cross another person's personal-professional boundaries. Make cold contacts lukewarm by engaging with a connection's posts before reaching out directly to establish a relationship.
Q: How should a student structure their message when reaching out to a potential employer?
A: You definitely want to start off by introducing yourself and sharing whatever connection you have with this person. Express that you'd like to connect and hear more about their experience and be available to whatever that looks like. Some may be open to a phone call, some may prefer messaging.
Most importantly, be sincere - don't just reach out to get what you want but recognize the value in building a connection with another professional. If you're looking for a specific template, check out CED's website. We have specific templates for networking messages and various other resources to help you along your career journey.
Q: What do companies look for on a social media profile when screening potential employees?
A: If you've ever looked at a job description that listed "communication skills" and thought, "oh, that's easy, I know how to talk to people..." There's much more that goes into that skill, and social media can be a part of that!
Looking at social media is how a candidate digitally communicates with others. Some specific things employers may look at are language, presentation, type of content posted, or your following list. If you find this to be an invasion of privacy, take that into consideration when evaluating your online presence before starting your employment search. Knowing your values and preferences between personal and professional life is always a good idea when looking for employment!
Q: Do students need to "clean up" their social media as they begin the job search?
A: First impressions are so important, and in a digital world, sometimes the first impression is made via social media. There are AI programs that can help you assess your social media language such as, Grammarly. It's important to remember that people are looking and what you choose to make public can influence a hiring manager's perception of who you are and what you value.
Q: How can students and recent graduates use social media to their advantage?
A: You can use social media to your advantage in so many ways! Having access to a large network is so helpful. You can build your personal brand. You can research companies in a unique way. Learn more about opportunities that are out there. Use LinkedIn as an e-portfolio and add your work to it.
Early and often approach: It'll be much less stressful when you're approaching graduation if you've already been connected to LinkedIn for some time. If you're approaching graduation, there is still time to get connected! Block off some time in your schedule to work on your profile and find connections. If you're in a creative field, you may also want to consider starting a professional account (that's separate from your personal social media) to share your work and professional accomplishments.
Using social media can help you stand out during the application process. For more help, schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor, check out CED’s online resources, or even participate in the upcoming student employment fair that will take place on Friday, Aug. 25 in the Student Center. And as always, be sure to follow Kent State’s social media accounts to stay up-to-date!