Student Interview: Using Social Media to Get a Job
For years, job searching has been fairly formulaic, starting with building a resume and ending with hours of applications. And there’s still a lot of that nowadays—but there are also new ways to amplify your search. Today, we’re going to focus on how you can make social media one of your biggest allies when you’re looking for an internship or job. With COVID-19 preventing us from most traditional methods of networking, it’s especially important to adapt and take advantage of online networking opportunities.
Most of us already use social media for a wide variety of tasks, from keeping tabs on our friends to entering giveaways for free products. But not many of us think to use social media to improve our career prospects. Given that we’ve all become social media experts, why not use our online skills to our advantage?
Hopefully you already know the importance of maintaining a clean and professional social media profile, and now it’s time to cash in on that diligence. Your social media profiles give you another way to stand out from the barrage of resumes and cover letters that your potential employers are sifting through. In some industries, you can even turn your social media profiles into a portfolio to showcase your best works for would-be employers.
To help us explain how to optimize your social media for job searching, we connected with Brian Wolford, a student who successfully utilized social media to find multiple opportunities in the IT industry.
Q&A With Brian Wolford
Chegg: Hi, Brian! Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Brian: Hi there! Right now, I’m transitioning from serving in the army, where I was a satellite controller. While overseas, I began majoring in information technology networking to try to best prepare myself for civilian life. Once I got home, I set my sights on finding a career post-army and figured that I should use my social media accounts to my advantage.
C: What social media platforms did you utilize in your job search?
B: I mainly used LinkedIn and Facebook in my job search. LinkedIn was my go-to for reaching a large number of people with my message, but then I used Facebook to facilitate more of the one-on-one conversations. That’s where I made some really valuable personal connections.
C: What were some things you did that worked well? What did you do that didn’t work as well?
B: I got professional resume help because I knew how important a good resume was, but I wasn’t really sure how to write one. The resume help was good and all, but what was really helpful was how they helped me rework my social media profiles. They helped me identify important keywords for my industry that would improve my chances at appearing in recruiter searches on LinkedIn. I added these keywords to my profile in a couple of key places, and I quickly saw results.
Another thing that worked really well for me was taking time to chat and connect with people who weren’t able to directly offer me a position. That may sound counterintuitive, but it was really cool to see how many ways people could offer me support in my job search process, even if they didn’t have a job to offer me. Many people shared my post, connected me with hiring managers, and gave me helpful advice, which was greatly appreciated.
Courtesy of Brian Wolford and LinkedIn. View Brian’s profile here.
As for what didn’t work … Well, I sent out a few too many “general” resumes and cover letters, and those didn’t bear a lot of fruit. Once I started tailoring my resumes and cover letters to the positions, I received a lot more interest.
C: What recommendations do you have for students who are looking to utilize social media in their job search?
B: I would say consider any time and money spent to be an investment in your future. As I explained before, I hired a professional resume writing service because I knew it would increase my chances at finding an opportunity. There were a few other times that I had to shell out a few dollars, but I just kept reminding myself that it was an investment, and as soon as I found a good position, it would all be worth it. One of the most worthwhile investments for me was LinkedIn Premium. The different analytics and insights that it provided really allowed me to optimize my profile and understand what was working and what wasn’t.
Also, I would recommend students scour social media for private groups and communities that they can join. These groups provide a lot of great networking opportunities because they give you a connection from the beginning. For example, I had a lot of success and received many opportunities from a group dedicated to helping veterans find opportunities. That group worked for me, but there are plenty of ones dedicated to alumni programs, sports organizations, hobbies, and many other areas.
C: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today, Brian.
B: Thank you, and good luck, everyone!
Brian did a great job of taking advantage of social media to find job opportunities, and hopefully his methods will help you do the same! If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on how to make the most of your online presence, check out this article.