How Students can use Twitter to Explore Careers & Find a Job

twitter-job-searchThe purpose of Twitter is to share pictures, links and information in 140 characters or less. Love it or hate it, it is an excellent way for you to get connected with people, including those hard to find employers who don’t like to publish their email addresses. Depending on who you follow, it can help you discover new information and build connections. Even if you don’t want to tweet, you can use Twitter to listen. It is used by many individuals to stay abreast of what is going on their industry, and it can be used by you to stay informed.

Career Exploration

A. Profile – what should/should not be included

Think of your 160 character Twitter bio as your purpose for being on Twitter. Consider including your full name, major, when you graduate and your future career goals. It is okay to include some of your hobbies, but if you plan on using this to interact with other Twitter users for career purposes, critically think about how you are presenting yourself through your bio.

Here are two examples:

  1. Student at the University of Georgia, Anthropology major, Soccer player, & VP of DZ. Seeking an internship in a museum or national park.
  2. UGA 2015 Advertising Student|New Media Fan|Traveler|Photoshop/InDesign Wizard|Future Graphic Artist & Journalist. Visit my blog: http://www.professionalblog.com

B. How to Research Careers

A good place to start is to identify Twitter users that put out useful career-related content. Visit www.twellow.com or www.wefollow.com and look for industry leaders in careers you are considering. Type a few different terms into the search bar like “career information” or “[industry] careers” and follow users that share information about their industry. You can also follow general career advice accounts, like Heather Huhman’s shown below.

It also wouldn’t hurt to ask directly questions to users. Here’s a sample tweet of how to do it:

@username How did you break into your career? Any advice for a current UGA student?

Before asking a question like the one above, build the relationship by commenting on the Twitter users posts or sharing information you think would be relevant to them.

Another way to explore careers is to read job postings listed on Twitter. There are some companies that have accounts dedicated to solely posting jobs. In addition, you can type in “[industry] jobs” and look to see if there is an account that posts positions in that field.

C.  Case Study

Lillian is a sophomore Advertising major at UGA. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after she graduated, so she set out to identify UGA alumni who were advertising majors on Twitter and follow them. After commenting on a few of their posts, she reached out directly to ask for advice. Though some alumni did not get back to her, she had a few that told her to direct message her email and phone number to connect for an informational interview. After a few of these conversations, she was able to get a better sense understanding of the various career paths in advertising and what would be the best fit for her.

Job Searching & Networking

A.     Ways to do it

Do you want to know the number one way UGA students find employment? Year after year, networking is at the top of the list. The goal of networking should be to build reciprocal relationships in which both parties benefit. It isn’t something only the well-connected can do. Twitter and social media can be used to create a network and manage your built-in networks that consist of friends, family professors, and anyone that you meet.

Here are a few quick tips to get started:

  • Identify users that have something in common with you: UGA, hobbies, extracurricular involvement or industry interests.
  • Create “lists” to keep your Twitter followers organized.
  • Share relevant industry news and information with your followers.
  • Comment on what others post to help you build a relationship.
  • Follow accounts that tweet job listings.

B.     General Tips

  • Keep your Twitter profile public so that others can follow and interact with you.
  • Don’t forget that everyone can see what you post. Think before you tweet.
  • Do share relevant information relevant to your career goals.
  • Don’t over tweet. Your followers will stop following you if you post too often.
  • Know that you don’t have to tweet often, but if you do, you are more likely to have people reply to your posts and want to follow you.
  • Build your network before you need it. Don’t be “that guy” who only contacts people when they want something.
  • It’s ok to post things outside of your future career interests, but don’t overdo it.
  • Think of your Twitter profile as a billboard. If you wouldn’t want your tweet plastered on a sign by the highway, don’t post it.
  • Follow hashtags and engage in chats.
  • You have to give to get. Comment on what others post if you want to get noticed.

C.     Sample Communication

There are many ways that you can use Twitter to communicate with potential hiring managers. Below are a few examples:

Follow up after an application

@companyname I just applied for the ______ position with your company. I would love to work there and would be glad to answer any questions if you have any.

To get noticed by an individual recruiter

@recruitername Any advice on what I can do to make myself more competitive for future internships? Here’s my LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/18WJYOe

@recruiter Thanks for sharing that article! I am interested in breaking into that industry and found it helpful.

Showcase your industry knowledge

Here’s a great article on the future of cloud computing: http://bit.ly/10ugvI6 #IT #ITcareers

D.    Case Study

Lydia May is a 2nd year student at UGA and is considering a career in either Journalism or Advertising. She used Twellow and WeFollow to identify Twitter users to follow that tweeted about her careers of interests and then took it a step further by looking at what Twitter accounts these top accounts followed. Eventually, it became hard to keep up with all the people she was following, so Lydia created an Advertising Twitter List and a Journalism Twitter list to help her keep her information organized.

By following these industry leaders, she identified accounts that tweeted jobs of interest to her.  She also was able to get advice from employees working at companies she is considering applying to for internships by asking when she should start applying and where she should look. Doing this helped her make sure she didn’t miss important application deadlines and it even gave her a leg up on her competition. Because she had established these industry relationships early, her name was passed along directly to the hiring manager and ultimately got hired.

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Best Practices for Live Tweeting at #NACE13

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Heather Tranen is spot on with this blog. Read this if you plan on tweeting during an upcoming professional conference!

Best Practices for Live Tweeting at #NACE13.

Finding your voice…social media voice that is

Determining Your Voice

I think one of the hardest parts of social media for professional or business use is determining your “voice.” What do I mean by voice? I’m talking about the feeling you give to your readers about who you are and what you (or your business) represent. It’s your personality. Your “it” factor. It’s what makes you different that anyone else posting about the same topic.

I’ve struggled with this personally myself. I currently coordinate the UGA Career Center’s Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest accounts and figuring out my voice on those accounts versus my personal/professional Twitter & Facebook accounts has been difficult. Being in a field where teaching professionalism is your job also makes it hard. Personally, I love entertainment news and following humorous accounts on Twitter and Facebook, but is it appropriate for the Career Center? Is it appropriate for any “serious” business to delve into pop culture and try to sound that way?

I’m still on the fence. On one hand, you don’t want to step too far to where you start losing credibility. On the other, you run the risk of being to stiff or boring. The key thing you need to ask yourself is who’s listening to me and who is most likely to interact with me on social media? The answer may be different depending on the site.

The companies that I find to be most successful answer questions directed towards their accounts quickly and politely. If their focus isn’t creating conversation with consumers, you either need to be funny or informative with a dash of random. The dash of random is what humanizes  you and your business. It may sound silly, but without it you lose something. Businesses are trying so hard to figure out a way to monetize social media and by doing so they miss the point of why social media was created: to create real relationships. Many of us choose our friends because we have something in common with them and they let us in. They let us see both the good and bad aspects of their personalities.

Do I think businesses should expose the bad parts of themselves? No, not necessarily. However, if all you’re doing is posting information that can be found directly on your website or Googled, you’ve missed the point and even if you have a lot of followers, you don’t have an audience. You’re a part of the noise.

Recruiting College Students Using Facebook Groups vs. Facebook Pages

I recently met with a client who wanted to ramp up her recruiting efforts with college students using social media, and one area of particular focus was recruiting on Facebook. Most tend to think of using Facebook fan pages to recruit students, but I recently heard of one company doing something rather innovative using Facebook groups that I thought I’d share.

First off, let’s see a sample recruiting Facebook Page:Ernst & Young Careers Page

E&Y Facebook PageWhat stood out to me most about this page is not that it’s bad, but that it wasn’t very conversational due to the nature of how Facebook pages are set up. Only in the tiny box titled “Recent posts by others” can you see what others post, which limits how conversational one can be using pages.

Here’s an example of what a Facebook Group looks like:

Sample group facebook page

There are quite a few good things you can do with groups that are different than pages. First, anyone that’s a part of the group can post into the main feed, which makes it more conversational. You also have the ability to upload documents (think job descriptions or other promotional materials) and have live group chats. Like Facebook Pages, you also have the ability to post events.

The recruiter that I met who chose to go with a Facebook Group vs. a Facebook Page used it as a way to cultivate talent early by connecting with Freshmen and Sophomore level students and inviting them to be a part of his closed (think exclusive) group. It was a way for top students to stay in touch with this particular recruiter as well as stay informed about every time he would be on campus. The amount of interaction that he saw in his group really astonished me, which opened my eyes to the viability of using Facebook groups vs. pages.

The main downside of a group vs. a page is that doesn’t have the same html capabilities as pages and it doesn’t allow you to create customized tabs. Depending on your recruiting goals, one may be more appropriate than another.

Do you use Facebook groups or pages to recruit? If so, which one and why?

How to Use Twitter to Job Search

For those that are on Twitter, I don’t need to explain the value: it keeps you up-to-date on who you follow, informs  popular news & is less cluttered than other social media sites. For those that don’t use Twitter, it’s a harder sell to use it period, let alone to job search. Why use it instead of Facebook or LinkedIn (or in addition)? Do employers really use it to hire people?

The key point is that not many job seekers ARE using it to job search. In this age of information-inundation, it’s important to do things that are different increase your chances of being noticed by hiring managers, many of whom receive hundreds of emails a day. If they are on Twitter, they will likely receive less tweets directed to them than emails, so why not use it?

Basic Ways You Can Use Twitter in Your Job Search:

Get a professional bio. Help someone understand why you’re on Twitter and what you’re hoping to get out of it. Include your area of expertise, a blog or website link and your purpose. Some people like to include a few personal hobbies or other details as well, but use good judgment when deciding what to include. Here are two examples:

Picture 2Picture 1

Google it! If you don’t know if a recruiter uses Twitter, Google “the employer name + Twitter”. You can also search employer name + recruiter + Twitter” to see who pops up. If anyone shows up in your results, their Twitter account was MADE for you. They want you to contact them! They wouldn’t identify themselves as an HR representative if they didn’t want you to reach out to them.

Picture 3

To get you have to give. Comment on other people’s tweets. Retweet their posts. Ask appropriate questions and mention others (@Twitterusername) to get the conversation started. Be the expert in the world that you wish to see–share professional articles, videos or general tips.

All of this will help you to get noticed. If you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to say or do, sit back and watch for a few days before joining in the conversation. You can learn a lot by observing.

Just do it. There is no RIGHT way how to tweet. Try not to over analyze whether or not you’re using Twitter correctly because everyone uses it differently. The most important thing for you to do is to join the conversation and put yourself out there.

There are a lot of worse things in life than being ignored or  rejected. Namely, missing out on a great opportunity. The question to ask yourself is what will I lose by NOT trying??

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful networking site, but it can be confusing to job seekers when they first visit. You don’t have the ability to post on anyone’s walls, create picture albums or play games. So what do you do?

LinkedIn can be used for many things, but there are certain parts of the site I think are particularly useful in helping you find a job.  Here are 5 things you can do today to get more value from LinkedIn:

  1. Join professional groups. Click on the “More” tab at the top of the page and select the “Skills and Expertise” option. Plug in your major, the industry you’re interested in or a skill you have that you would like to use in a future job. It will give you suggested professional groups to join based on what you typed in among other useful pieces of information. A lot of groups will have an internal “Jobs” tab that could give you leads. If nothing else, it can help you identify other people you could network with that are interested in the same area as you. Don’t be shy! Message someone and ask them for advice or tips on how you can break into the field.
  2. Make people want to talk to you. Make your profile dynamic by adding in samples of your work: PowerPoint presentations, professional blogs, or a portfolio are just a few of your options. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations from previous employers so you can include that on your profile. You can also request for your connections to endorse your skills.
  3. Create a keyword rich profile. If you click on the “Jobs” tab in the top bar you’ll see that LinkedIn suggests jobs you may be interested in based on the information you included in your profile. If you aren’t sure what career you want to pursue in the future, this could be a great place to get ideas! It also has a broader job board you can search through using keywords.FYI–Some employers seek out inactive job seekers using keywords so you may even get contacted about future opportunities if you strategically use them!
  4. Create conversation. Share information in groups or pose questions. This may help you get noticed by other members who might click on your profile (aka your online resume). If you start building professional relationships, you naturally have an insider’s advantage if you apply to positions that are affiliated with your networking contacts.
  5. Contact members directly. You’ve got a name. You know where they work. Google it! See if you can find an email address so you can contact them outside of LinkedIn if you can’t message them directly through the site. Just don’t ask if they have any jobs open. A better way to get the same information would be to ask a question like “I’m really interested in pursuing a career similar to yours in the future. Do you have any tips or advice that you would be willing to share with me?” If you make a good impression they’ll tell you about any open jobs they have now and if they don’t have any at least you got some advice that could lead to a job.  And who knows? Maybe a position will open up a few weeks after you talked. Again, if you impressed them, you can bet they will be emailing or calling you to get you to apply.

Tip: Do an advanced people search to see if any UGA alums work in your targeted organizations or industries. People are more likely to respond to these requests when they can relate to you.

 

The key thing you should take away from this is that you have to take action.  A job isn’t going to fall out of the sky and into your lap. However, the more you increase your network and maintain it, the more likely you’ll hear of future openings!

The Secret Hook: How To Engage and Keep Your Customers

You’ve probably heard that millenials and Gen Y as a whole is the “trophy generation,” meaning they think the mere act of participating in something should result in an award. Many grew up with teachers and coaches that gave them a trophy for virtually everything.  You may think of this as coddling or ridiculous, but businesses and higher education would benefit if they would stop fighting the “helicopter parent” mentality and show some appreciation not only to Gen Y, but to their customers as a whole.

Celebrities are the best at this. Take this scenario: Kim Kardashian will occasionally retweet a fan’s comment. Fan freaks out. Tells all her friends on Facebook & Twitter. However many friends that fan has, now knows about Kim Kardashian and is more likely to see who she is and what she does. Conveniently, there is a direct link to her new perfume on her Twitter profile. Coincidence? I think not.  That is the mark of a savvy businesswoman. By the simple act of recognition, her follower becomes an even more avid fan, and new followers may engage with her social media presence that might not have done so before.

You may be thinking that you’re not a celebrity, so obviously the same scenario couldn’t happen to you. I’ve got a few examples that would beg to differ, however.  This phenomenon is an example of a new trend in consumer behavior: recognition. They want to have their questions answered. Be featured on your social media pages. Thanked for sharing your posts. Feel like someone is paying attention to them period.

My definition of recognition is a little broader than the trophy concept. It’s showing your customer respect. Respect for their opinions, showing that you listen, and demonstrating that you act based on what you heard.

How do you show that you’re paying attention to your fans?

How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar

It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.  You can create one on Google, Outlook, or (what I do) through Publisher.

The trick is figuring out WHAT your audience wants to hear about and WHEN. That’s not easy to figure out necessarily either, unless if you have kept track of your analytics using something like Hootsuite or Bit.ly.  If you’ve been shortening your links using Hootsuite or bit.ly and identifying popular topics, all you have to do is lay it out on the calendar.

Here’s a basic outline of what I plan on posting for my audiences this Fall.  Note that’s it’s not complete, and I did that intentionally.  You can’t give away all your trade secrets, right??

If you haven’t been keeping track of how your audience is engaging with you, I recommend that if you go ahead and create a content calendar that you also create a plan of how you are going to measure whether or not your calendar was effective.  Facebook insights and Hootsuite can tell you a lot of information as to whether or not your followers/fans are paying attention to what you’re posting.

Note that with many things in life, sometimes it’s trial and error.  You may think you’ve got the perfect plan in place, but it’s important to monitor your progress to see if you need to adjust in the future.

Do you have any other tips on how to create a content calendar?

Consistency is Key in Social Media

I’m guilty of not following one of the cardinal rules to successfully using social media for your business/organization: consistency.  I’ve been traveling and working on several different projects for my office, so posting blogs got pushed to the back burner temporarily.  It’s no excuse, but it’s what happened.

We all have times like this in our lives where the here and now overtake us and we lose sight of other things that are important.  Sometimes you can’t predict this, but other times you know it’s coming.

 

That every September you’ll get rush of clients.

That you’ve got a big deadline coming up.

Ultimately, that something else more important that social media is happening in your life.

If you can predict these things are coming up, it’s important for you to go ahead and plan early.  Go ahead and write a few “filler” blogs or social media posts.  You can even go back and recycle some of your content because likely your audience isn’t going to remember you already posted that tweet.  They could’ve missed it all together.

We don’t always know when we’ll be busy or when things we can’t predict are going to come up.  We can, however, have our “just in case” content in place to keep you on track.

 

LinkedIn for Students – Making the Most of it

To build upon what I wrote about on SoshITech, I wanted to share some more information about how college students can leverage LinkedIn in the job search and as they start their careers.

Jasmine Hall shared the infographic seen below and shared an excellent blog they posted here. Check it out!