In today’s competitive job market, it is important to contact the leading people in one’s field in order to finally achieve one’s dream career. With today’s shift in technology, it is a must for every college student to be posting online some of their important works and successes, no matter what the field in order to promote their personal brand.
One’s personal brand is simply who they are as a person and what they have accomplished so far. It is how one wants to be seen by potential employers.
To many, social media may seem difficult, confusing or too time consuming due to the already demanding college schedule. Some of the most popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs such as WordPress and Tumblr, just to name a few.
“College students have the best opportunity out there to really create their own personal brand and be able to sell themselves a lot better to potential employers,” Melissa Steven, associate editor at Gregory FCA, which was recently ranked as the No. 1 PR firm in Philadelphia, said. “So if you are looking to get a job, no matter what major, start a blog.”
Most blogs are simple and easy to use. Plus, they have a particular word attached to them that makes almost every college student happy: free. Almost all blogs are free and can contain one’s entire portfolio including the all-important resume. There is almost no limit to what one can put in their blog. Video clips, audio pieces, writing samples and photography are just a few of the many portfolio pieces that are commonly found on a blog site.
“You have the control over how employers are going to see you and you can really market that to what you want that to be,” Steven said.
A phrase that rings true in many cases when it comes to finding a job is “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Networking is very close to becoming a college student’s best friend. Some students may have contacts and already established relationships with people in their desired field because of their parents. Many are not as lucky and must form these relationships on their own, which was the case for social media consultant Marian Schembari, who started networking by buying a Facebook ad that are pay-per-click.
“What I did was I targeted employers; specific employers,” Schembari said.
Many do not know that the ads on a profile sidebar can be used to their networking advantage. Creating a Facebook ad about yourself and your interests may show up on a future employer’s sidebar on their Facebook account.
“I ended up in a couple of weeks getting like 100 emails from publishers and within two weeks I had a job of a publicist,” Shembari said. “Social media worked really well, but because of those ads, people thought I understood social media way more than I did so I had to learn really fast a lot about social media.”
Within three months, Schembari quit her new job in order to start her own free-lance business because the Facebook advertisement generated a lot of contacts.
If someone knows what field they want to pursue but do not know much about the field, social media can be a great platform for research.
“I knew nothing about publishing, I just knew I wanted to be in publishing and everything I learned was because there are 20 publishing blogs online that are well read and I spent a lot of time reading those blogs. I got to know those people who wrote those blogs and commented on those blogs. Everyone who was active on those blogs and on LinkedIn, I got in touch with them and made my own network of people,” Schembari said. “Now, that network is huge for the simple reason that social media allows you to meet people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
LinkedIn is another free social networking site that can be more than beneficial. A way to make a good contact on LinkedIn is to search for people who already have the job you are looking for, specifically those who just got that job. Then the user sends them a message asking how they got the job and what steps they took to get it.
“Make the message personalized. There is nothing worse than getting a cut and paste email,” Schembari said. “I would ask for advice. I wouldn’t ask to pass along my resume; I wasn’t asking them to do anything for me. It was nice to get their stories and a lot of them I am still friends with.”
For a simple site, Twitter has a lot of influence when it comes to networking. There are countless ways to use Twitter and the 140-character-limit to attract employers. On Schembari’s website, MarianLibrarian.com, she has a blog post entitled “Eight Reasons No One is Following You on Twitter.”
In this post, she stresses the importance of completing everything on one’s Twitter account. It is important to have a Twitter avatar, one’s full name and location as well as a specific bio. Schembari spoke about the importance of the Twitter bio. The bio is one of the first things a new follower will look at; therefore, it cannot be ambiguous or generic.
Starting a blog or diving headfirst into social media may be intimidating because there are a lot of options out there but the outcome has countless benefits.
“It’s free, it’s at your finger tips, it’s incredibly easy to use and it makes you more marketable, so there is really no reason not to use it,” Steven said.
“Think of it as a networking event,” Schembari said. “Everyone knows that networking is the most important way to do anything. You need to know people.”