College graduation often comes quicker than expected; while college students anxiously pick up their cap and gown, their excitement is often met with fear. It isn’t shortly thereafter that diploma is placed in their hands that they begin to ask themselves, “what now?”.
In the days and months to follow, different people take different action, but whether you’re enjoying time off, traveling or interning, that burning question is never far from your mind. They say hindsight is 20/20 - looking back I would change most aspects of my post-graduation job search if I only knew then, what I know now.
Growing up in the “Facebook Era”, social media became a part of my daily routine. So when I went on a cruise in the months following graduation, I was quick to upload pictures upon my return. Excited to show my friends where I had been, I failed to consider employers may too be viewing my page; perhaps a profile picture in a bathing suit wasn’t the smartest decision.
Profile pictures are the first thing people see when viewing your profile and are visible to everyone, regardless of your privacy settings. Less than a week later, I received an inquiry from my current employer about my interest in a position. It took mere seconds for me to swap out the picture, but first impressions can be deadly.
- Tip: Use your best judgment on social media. Taking steps to “untag” unflattering pictures from Facebook, adjusting privacy settings and adding friends to custom Facebook lists may be burdensome, but it can be the difference in gaining a job.
- Tip: Once privacy settings are secure, update them regularly. Social media changes at a rapid pace – ensure your profile keeps up!
As if I hadn’t hindered my chances at gaining a job enough on Facebook, I failed to recognize the benefit of LinkedIn as well. Unfamiliar with the capabilities of this professional site, I only filled out the skeleton of a LinkedIn profile, leaving out any key words or accomplishments (the very things employers look for).
Now, working in social media for a staffing firm, I often refer to LinkedIn as our “sweet spot” and see its effectiveness every day. You would be amazed at the increase in connections you can receive with a 100 percent complete profile. LinkedIn allows you to connect with companies now more than ever, practically delivering your resume to their door.
- Tip: Take the time to complete your profile and connect with classmates and friends. Did you have a particularly close relationship with a professor or prior employer? Don’t hesitate to ask for a recommendation and offer to write one in return. The worst they can say is “no”!
- Tip: If you learn the name of your hiring manager, look them up on LinkedIn! Where’d they go to school? What did they study? Use this information to break the ice during your interview.
Social media is an important aspect of the modern job search, but let’s not forget about the fundamentals. Check back for Part 2 to learn what I know now about resume and interview mistakes.
Part 1 of 2 Part Series
Next article – College Graduation: If I Knew Then, What I Know Now (Part II)