Using Social Media in Your Employment Search
In addition to in-person networking, social media can greatly enhance your job or internship search. Online communities and services once used to maintain connections with peers are now frequently used to build relationships with prospective employers and professional mentors. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are recommended to 1) market yourself to potential employers, and 2) aid in your overall search strategy.
Learn more about using social media in your search by watching our webinar, Networking:140 Characters or more
LinkedIn.com is a networking site designed to help you locate the “experts” in your chosen field and to help you develop a stronger professional presence online. When using LinkedIn, consider the following:
- Continually revise your profile in the same way you do your resume; making sure it is error free and rich in industry specific keywords and skill sets.
- Join groups that are occupationally relevant as a way to locate networking contacts and to gain advice from a larger community.
- Use proper etiquette. Avoid contacting people you do not know without any connection or introduction.
- Research companies and your possible connections within organizations.
- Download our LinkedIn Guide to learn how to use LinkedIn to market yourself, network and search for jobs and internships.
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service designed to help you locate resources and connections and to develop your own following. When using Twitter, consider the following:
- Follow individuals and groups that will aid in your professional awareness and development such as @northwesternucs, companies of interest, career coaches and industry experts.
- Use twitterjobsearch.com or tweetmyjobs.com to search tweets for job/internship postings.
- Search using hash tags such as #jobpostings, #intern, #employment, #career and #tweetmyjobs to find tweets containing relevant information for your job/internship search.
- Create a “Twesume,” a resume of no more than 140 characters that can be tweeted to your followers, employers or used as your bio.
- Tweet photos or videos of your work through Twitter or applications like Twitpic or TwitVid.
- New to Twitter? Download our Twitter Tutorial to learn the basic and advanced features of creating and mantaining your Twitter account.
Other Social Networking Sites and Suggestions
YouTube provides a valuable medium for filmmakers and artists, or for sharing your video resume. Upload your own videos to make available to employers during your job search.
Pinterest helps you create a virtual pin board that can showcase your resume, writing samples, press clips and other work samples. Alternatively, you can use it to pin items that reflect your industry or your interests.
QR Codes can be included on custom business cards to link your card to your LinkedIn profile. Pingtags.com is one service that can create a QR code for this purpose.
Where Can I Find Northwestern University Career Services Online?
Northwestern UCS is active on multiple social media channels. Follow us to receive career tips and news, campus recruiting, workshop and event listings, industry trends and more.
LinkedIn: Northwestern University Career Services LinkedIn Group
UCS Twitter #Hashtags
Choose to follow certain UCS Twitter #hashtag(s) to receive information-specific Tweets:
#UCSAlum: Information pertaining to NU alumni
#UCSGrad: Information pertaining to NU graduate students
#UCSStudent: Information pertaining to NU students
#UCSEmployer: Information pertaining to NU employers
#UCSEvent: UCS events, workshops & career fairs
#UCSJob: Job announcements
#UCSIntern: Internship announcements
#UCSInfo: All UCS information, resources & career-related articles pertinent to NU undergraduate students, graduate students & alumni
#Northwestern: Other NU events, all of the above
Social Networking, Your Privacy and Your Reputation
When using the online resources and services mentioned above remember to make your presence "employer friendly." Networking sites may create an illusion of privacy, which is not quite accurate. As a social networking participant, your information is potentially accessible to a range of individuals. Prospective employers, professors, graduate school admissions committees, or the media may view your sites. As a result, your social networking activities may reach a wider audience than you anticipated.
How can social networking affect a job/internship offer?
A growing number of employers now use social media to research candidates. For many, this is an easy way to gather information to use in their employment selection process.
The following is a list of the most common indiscretions that can interfere with your future employment:
- Promiscuous or inappropriate photos
- Alcohol- or drug-related experiences
- Complaints about bosses or supervisors
- Vulgar language or content
- Overly self-disclosing information
- Music or videos with profanity or nudity
What can I do?
Adjust your privacy settings. Most social networking sites offer the option to only allow access to users you have approved.
Review your profile pages. Revise or remove information that may create an unfavorable professional image.
Google yourself. Perform an internet search on yourself and verify that the content listed is accurate and appropriate.
Given the widespread use of social media, it is likely that you communicate through at least one of these venues. Remember that the content on your site has the potential to portray you in a favorable or unfavorable manner, so take precautions to safeguard your image.