The concept of social media may bring up a mixed bag of opinions but however you feel about it, it is an effective tool for professional development. Don't overlook this important digital support system. It can help you find jobs, meet potential mentors and grow your personal network. Here are some ways to utilize social media as a support system:
Use Social Media to Land a Job
LinkedIn is a very effective tool for job-hunting. It is the main channel used by professionals and is a great way to make connections. It is also an essential tool due to the fact that more employers and recruiters are using social media rather than using job boards. However, before you start using this channel, be sure to build your profile and highlight your best self. This past graduation season the Brandman Blog featured some LinkedIn tips for new grads that I encourage you to check out to help get you started. Once you are ready to use LinkedIn, create the connections you need to get the job you want.
Social media, when used correctly, helps you accomplish what you usually cannot accomplish on your own. It is a great channel to reach out to people who you normally would not have the courage to reach out to in person. You may be surprised to learn how responsive and helpful people are on social media.
Another fabulous reason why LinkedIn is a great tool for job-hunting is the ability to access information about the individuals behind a job posting. If you do not have the name of the hiring manager, do your research and get information on people who work at the company and see what skills and talents they all share. You can also find recruiters from those companies and connect with them. Remember that recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential candidates for positions, so do not be afraid to reach out to them. This is the beauty of social media. Unlike email, your messages cannot be sent to a spam folder and recruiters have the option of looking into you further by reviewing your profile and experience. So instead of being lost in a sea of job submissions, you can stand out and place your information into their hands. The worst that could happen is not getting a response, and that is fine. Just keep looking forward and find more people to reach out to.
Do not forget to utilize the existing connections you do have with the people you know. You never know how they might be connected to the job of your dreams. LinkedIn is constantly making their channel easier for you to use for networking purposes. Just recently, they released a new app called LinkedIn Connected for the iPhone. David Brubacher, Group Product Manager, Relationship Products at LinkedIn writes, "We know you'd love to reach out and catch up with everyone in your network over coffee, but that isn't always possible. LinkedIn Connected gives you relevant and timely reasons to reach out and keep in touch with the people in your network."
It's never been easier to stay in touch with people than it is today. Take advantage of it and constantly utilize your network as a support system to build your career and get the job you know you deserve.
Meet New People and Gain Resources
Fellow students, professors, family and friends are all valuable connections that you can make on social media. In addition, you can follow industry leaders and join groups like the Brandman University Alumni Group on LinkedIn to network and use as a resource for your career. Again, don’t be afraid to reach out to people, you will be surprised at the response rates.
On Twitter, you have the ability to create lists which are curated groups of Twitter users. This allows you to stream tweets from only the users on that list. So start creating lists of companies, thought leaders or industry experts and read what they have to say. Take it to the next level and start conversations with influencers on Twitter.
Let the Information Come to You
The great thing about social media is that everyone is using it in one way or another. Fortune Magazine released its annual list of Best Companies to Work For and the top 5 companies all utilize social media. Whether these companies are ones you want to work for or you simply find their content valuable to your professional development, following them on social media will bring the information straight to you. To get even more personal with large companies and organizations, you should follow their blogs and read what they are discussing in depth.
There is no clear cut way to use social media for networking but do what feels comfortable for you. It is an ongoing process that takes trial and error, but it is an investment worth making.