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Career Development Center University of Illinois Springfield

Social Media for Making Connections

Understanding the Benefits of Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that connects you with professionals, alumni, recruiters, and organizations. Additional benefits of social media include:

  • Demonstrating to employers that you are well versed in current internet and social media practices.
  • Creating and showcasing your “personal brand” or your online profile.
  • Connecting you to opportunities that aren’t posted on job boards.
  • Building your networking contacts. 92% of employers use LinkedIn; 70% use Facebook; and 63.7% use Twitter (NACE Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report, 2013).
  • Researching industries, companies, and positions of interest.
  • Increasing your visibility to hiring managers, recruiters, and professionals in your areas of interest.

The key element is to focus on connecting with people not just finding a position. Start by creating and maintaining up-to-date comprehensive profiles on one of the four most commonly used social media sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

 

 

LinkedIn

To get started on LinkedIn, check out LinkedIn Learning Webinars which includes how to create a profile, network, and search for opportunities.

  • Create a strong profile with keywords and skills. Also add all experiences you have in your background, such as education, work experience, internships, extracurricular activities, volunteering, awards and honors, and areas of interest. Follow-up with a career counselor for a profile critique.
  • Establish a professional image by using a career-minded headshot for personal distinction.
  • Follow organizations of interest and follow news, announcements, and opportunities.
  • Join relevant groups and follow and contribute to discussions, as well as keep up on industry trends.
  • Keep profile updated with regular posts.  Relevant posts can highlight savvy communication and knowledge related to your career goals.
  • Utilize features to strengthen search and networking functions.
  • Search for university and alumni through targeted university groups and individual contacts for connections and potential career advice.
  • Nurture and maintain relationships with connections through periodic personalized messages.

Facebook

Most of you already use Facebook to keep up with family and friends but it can also be used for professional networking.

  • Professionalize your profile. Use privacy controls and friend lists to manage who can view professional versus personal content, but consider anything put on the Internet as public.
  • ‘Like’ organizations to build connections, but remember they are now able to see your public profile.
  • Request to join relevant groups and engage in discussion forums to demonstrate your knowledge and interest.
  • Highlight various experiences, skills, and interests related to work, academics, achievements, awards, and community involvement.
  • Keep your Facebook content clean and use correct grammar and spelling to promote a positive impression.
    • Avoid posting inappropriate photos and comments on your account.
    • Do not join groups about inappropriate topics.
    • Monitor what your friends are writing on your wall and tagged photos of yourself.

Twitter

Twitter allows you to follow people and organizations of interest, learn about industries and trends, share content, and make connections.

  • Create a Twitter handle using your name or a combination of your name and career area.
  • Upload a professional headshot of yourself.
  • Write a brief bio describing your strengths, skills, and professional interests.
  • Create your complete profile (photo and bio) before following others.
  • Be a keen observer before using Twitter.  Write informed tweets and comments.
  • Follow interesting industry leaders, organizations, and professional groups.
  • Link Twitter to your LinkedIn page.
  • If you tweet, avoid abbreviations and use proper grammar and spelling.
  • Tweeting Tips
    • Ask for advice about specific professions.
    • Recommend web resources, blog posts, videos, books, other tweeters, etc.
    • Link to photos of professional projects, conferences, etc.
    • Tweet about your own website or blog.
    • Retweet interesting or relevant comments, links, etc.
    • Thank people who respond to your tweets.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a platform to visually display your works and interests. It adds depth to careers related to creative design, like graphic design, visual arts, and marketing.

  • Target Pinterest boards of organizations of interest to learn more about their culture.
  • Draft a headline that includes your career goals and 2-3 top skills.
  • Create a visual resume or portfolio to showcase your education, work experience, awards, and accomplishments then add to your board.
  • Develop boards highlighting career or professional information or inspiration.
  • Add links to videos, pictures, and other projects.