As a senior, making career connections is more important than ever. That means your social media profiles need to be up to snuff, and you should be taking proactive measures to talk to potential employers and people in the field (aka people who could potentially help you land a job). It’s a lot to think about, so take it a step at a time.
To get started, you should look at your profiles and decide how professional they are. Do your friends write comments about partying, post unflattering pictures or swear all over your Facebook wall? Do all your tweets consist of a play by play of your night, reaching out to friends, or simply focused on stalking your favorite celebrities? It’s time to clean up your act. Making your profile private won’t do much for you. Sometimes employers will have you log in during the interview, or they’ll find some way to find some of your information. The best thing to do is delete and privatize certain things. Maybe make certain friends’ wall posts for your eyes only, so they don’t take your reputation down with them. You can block all pictures you’ve been tagged in so people on your profile can’t see them; however, the pictures are still floating around the Internet and could be found at some point. You should ask whoever posted the images to take them down to be safest. Delete tweets that don’t do anything to boost your professional image. And if you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn, which is considered one of the most important career tools in social media.
Once your act is all cleaned up, it’s time to go on an outreach frenzy. Take some time to think about your field, and who would be important to follow and learn from. For example, if you’re in journalism, you should be following magazines, newspapers, broadcast stations and any news outlet you like. You should also look to follow writers and reporters. Who you follow on Twitter says a lot about you to employers, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you do with your account. Try tweeting to them on occasion, with comments or questions. If they’re really popular, they might not get back to you (ever), but it’s worth a try and helps show you’re proactive with your career. Even some re-tweets from non-celebrities will show you take your social media professionally and demonstrate how you’re trying to improve your skills in the field—by looking at the best of the best.
Besides reaching out on Twitter, LinkedIn is key. The easiest way to reach out to people not in your networks and working in a field you desperately want to get into is searching for alums. Though you haven’t graduated yet, you can join your college’s alumni group on LinkedIn and from there, life will be so much easier. You can search the group for companies, location, and even similar interests to learn about the job market in a certain area, what a company looks for when hiring, or what working like the field is like in general. People like to help others, and if they’re passionate for their school, they’ll definitely be willing to help a new graduate. Just remember to be polite, not be pushy, and never straight up ask for a job. Seek advice and tips instead, which will serve you better in the long run.
In other words, social media isn’t just for fun anymore. That doesn’t mean you can’t put up fun statuses for your friends’ birthdays or ever post any pictures from a party (though try to avoid the drinking pics if they exist), but you should be more conscious of what you post. You should focus on connecting with people who make a difference in your field and show you’re paying attention to what’s new. Look for roles models so your own Twitter can one day serve as a strong model for new young professionals entering the field. Now’s the time to really focus on yourself and the future, so why not put in the extra effort to look like the prime candidate for a job offer?
Best of luck and happy (professional) tweeting!