Last year I received a Facebook message from a virtual friend whom I’d never talked to. I didn’t know what to make of the message, but at a closer look, I was astonished to realize it was a job offer. No application, interview or screening—just a nice and crisp job offer that dropped into my lap out of the clear blue sky. Considering I was a freshman, it meant a whole world of difference to me. Here was some random Facebook friend offering me a writing contract with a modest salary (modest enough to make me forget the monthly allowance from my parents). She said she read some of my Facebook posts and thought they were great, and she wanted me on her team as a columnist for the campus segment of her news website. Of course, I jumped at the offer.
In the 21st century, social media is fast becoming an integral part of every youth’s life. It has many benefits, and can easily connect us to millions of people only a click away, like a random FB friend randomly offering a job. But the question is: “What are college students doing on social media?” This pertinent question receives the most diverse answers. While some college students harness social media to create closer relationships with family and friends, some reconnect with long-lost acquaintances, perform academic activities and exhibit their talents.
Of all the uses of social media, the most underutilized use of social media by college students seems to be using it to secure one’s future. Although this might sound like a lofty dream, the same rules apply whether one intends to find a job after college or in college through social media. The goal is usually to create an extraordinary online profile that will strike the right impression for prospective employers.
Get rid of any negative posts or pictures about yourself online. Be careful what you share because, despite your handy privacy settings, the internet acts as a terrific mechanism for making web pages go viral. Most importantly, learn to highlight the good about yourself. Show and state the incredible things you have done, currently doing and capable of accomplishing.
Social networks speak volumes about an individual beyond what can be seen in a résumé or cover letter. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram come to mind as the thriving social networks, and a lot of surveys have shown how they are beginning to affect employment. In one survey, Snelling.com, an American employment agency that has been in the business for 65 years, stated that 86% of employers now check social networks before granting interviews.
So how can college students take advantage of job hunting on social media? The most sound option is to make the right network. You should follow experts, companies and institutions in your field on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This keeps you clued in about their activities and job vacancies. Also, partake in online conversations on trending issues in the industry and be brilliant. You will portray yourself as someone who is knowledgeable and valuable to a potential employer. Never forget to mention in your profile your areas of interest, strong points, the places where you’ve worked and your laudable accomplishments there. This is called self-marketing, not narcissism.
Getting a job through social media appears in most college student’s dreams. In most cases, the new recruit is able to do what he or she is passionate about because the employer most likely considered the candidate’s interests and strong points before making an offer. This is very comforting, especially in an era when people lack enthusiasm in their jobs. In the recruit’s case, she gets to do what she enjoys (maybe even from the comfort of home) and earn money.
Now is the ideal time for college students to start exploring the myriad of opportunities locked away in the vast world of social media. As employers continue to devise new strategies for hiring staff, college students cannot afford to lag behind. The world is getting more competitive day by day, and college students need to start grooming themselves to thrive when entering the job market. College students need everything that can to give them an edge, and social media provides this edge. Social media offers an avenue to market oneself, draw the attention of potential employers and sustain that interest. With that same social media, you can say hi to loved ones, brainstorm with classmates, follow celebrity gossip and cyber stalk the cutie in your English Comp class.