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Five Tips for New Grads: How to Use Social Media to Start Your Career

Photo by Rob Chan via flickr

It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in my dorm room sending my college roommates links to YouTube videos and some ecards on Facebook. Fast forward four years later; I never expected I’d be starting a career in social media. In those four years social media revolutionized communication, and a career in the field means the opportunity to be part of one of the most exciting, rapidly changing areas of marketing and PR today.

For new college grads, we’ve been using the Internet as another social layer of our lives since high school, and the lines between personal and professional use can often be blurry. When pursuing your career, it’s important to make sure that your passion for sharing content via the social web will help you get hired not turn employers off. Here are a few things I’ve learned to keep in mind:

  1. Be careful of your online footprint. Don’t underestimate what employers will be able to find about you online. Be aware of what results search engines return, and keep this in mind whenever you post updates, upload photos, or comment online. Make sure what employers find reinforces a positive impression of who you are, from anyone’s perspective. Creating a personal website or public resume on LinkedIn, starting a Twitter handle with your full name in the profile, or blogging about your professional interests can be good ways to control the information that comes up about you in search.

  1. Always present yourself the way you want to be perceived. Similar to a job interview, the way you act and the things you say on social media platforms can quickly make or break an employer’s idea of who you are. Check spelling and grammar, and if it’s something too personal for work, it should probably be left offline. Stay away from profanity and vulgarity – you (most likely) wouldn’t cuss in front of your boss or a client, so you shouldn’t online either.
  2. Share your professional knowledge. Hiding behind a private Twitter handle may not be the best way to advance your career. Impress prospective employers and new colleagues with your expert skills at using your own social media accounts and with the quality of the content you share there.
  3. Learn by watching others. Take note of how the professionals you admire use social media to build their personal brand. Gather insights into best practices and make an effort to use the techniques you observe and make them your own.
  4. Continue to be curious. Social media provides a constant, real-time source of news and professional resources. Follow the Twitter handles or blogs of the movers and shakers in your field. Take note of the strategies world class companies are using. Social media moves fast, and it’s up to you to be on top of it.

Pair these practices with a portfolio filled with great leadership and experience, examples of the results you drove and an energetic attitude, and you’ll be applying for jobs with social media on your side. To see what positions are available within the Ogilvy PR 360° Digital Influence team, make sure to check here: http://blog.ogilvypr.com/careers/.

What tips do you have for using social media as you start your career?