There’s no denying that there are great benefits to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Even beyond the obvious benefits of staying in touch with friends, family, classmates and coworkers—as well as being up-to-date on the latest inane tweet from “Snookie” –there are now plenty of other benefits. Social platforms are offering special offers and coupons for events within your city, deals on various activities you have shown a preference for, and opportunities to play games and win prizes.
Businesses are becoming fluent on social networks, as well. Employers are using Facebook more to advertise their business and attract employees, while LinkedIn is more commonly used by employers to connect and communicate with potential employees. The first step to advertising your brand and connecting with your target audience is to decide where your target audience “lives” and what platforms they tend to interact within. As a student however, your brand is yourself, and the way you promote yourself on various social media stages will influence the way people, including potential employers, view your brand.
Indeed, you can include the online education you’ve obtained; the courses you took, both pertaining to your degree and those that helped you become a well-rounded individual. Both will help promote your brand, but the key will be to make yourself stand out. This can mean optimizing your profile to gain attention, or engaging on platforms where you know your audience tends to congregate. Managing your social media presence and getting your resume and social media outlets to work together to market you as an employee will be the combination you need to succeed within the social media sphere. The bottom line is that there are tremendous benefits to using social media, but you must exercise caution and common sense. Basically, when you know you’re in the market for a job, the best bet is to not post anything anywhere on social media that you wouldn’t want your future boss to see.
Employers, however, are using social media in some other creative ways. ZDnet reports that 56 percent of employers check up on applicants using Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. What this means for you, as a potential job applicant, is that your private life may no longer be as private as you think. It may impress the heck out of your friends that you rock at “Mafia Wars”, but the hiring manager for that security director job you’re interviewing for might not be as impressed. Further, the pictures of all your childhood friends—who now look like the cast of a prison drama—on your wall will probably not do much to build the trust of a new potential employer, either.
Twitter is a whole other issue–the brief, stream-of-consciousness nature of the medium makes it perfect for a rant that you may not realize is visible to a searching employer. Even if you possess all your faculties when you tweet, the nature of the medium makes it very easy to misinterpret or take something out of context—leading to a potential for huge misunderstandings. Don’t portray yourself as someone you are not, but be conscientious of the image you are sharing with the world.