Lloyd brought up a few good points in his response to my previous post titled Life after Graduation, so I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss it in more detail.
Social Media is nothing new, but it’s something that has grown exponentially in the last few years, it’s hard to walk down the street today without seeing some form of Social Media at work, even large news corporations are starting to use Social Media (rightly or wrongly) as a conduit for gathering news worthy stories.
Almost everyone now has a Facebook account, well not everyone, there are only 350 million Facebook accounts and many billions of people on the planet – but chances are most if not all of the people in your group of friends and family will have one. Social Media isn’t just about having an account though, it’s about how you use it.
For recent graduates Social Media can be a very powerful tool to increase your exposure and employability. The technology industry is an extremely fast moving and competitive place, and as everyone says, the more employable you can make yourself, the more chance you have of getting a job.
This is where Social Media comes in, how better to show employers that you are passionate about the industry and show off your talents than taking advantage of some of the most popular tools on the web?
The main goal of all of this is to create a brand for yourself, when someone searches your name in Google you actually want them to find something, your blog, your twitter account, your LinkedIn account, and the content that lives there go towards helping you get your name out there, and gets you associated with the industry.
Blogs have also been around for years, but I’m surprised how many of my fellow Computer Science graduates don’t even have one! It’s is one of the first things you need to do in order to get your name out there.
Think of something you’re interested in or find interesting about the industry and create a blog about it, use it to share interested things you’ve found on the subject, or add your own opinion to commonly discussed topics.
Use your blog as an avenue to show off some of the work you have done, if you’ve a designer, show off your designs, if you’ve written a cool piece of code, share it, it all helps a potential employer get an idea of the work you are capable of and how passionate you are about the area.
Twitter is a fantastic tool to help you drive traffic to your blog and to share interesting links with your followers. While Twitter isn’t going to be able to get you a job, using it will get you more exposure, and at the end of the day that’s what you need to do, get more people to see your work and skills.
For most people Facebook is a walled garden, I personally prefer to have my privacy settings as high as they go, but that doesn’t mean that Facebook doesn’t play a key part in using Social Networking effectively. Recently Facebook has opened up many of the News Stream features to behave much like Twitter, meaning that it’s another way to get your name out there.
If your goal is to use Social Media to get yourself a Job outright then LinkedIn is probably the most important place to start. LinkedIn is a bit like using monster.com except it focuses more on the business relationships you have made – but it doubles as very useful job hunting tool. Fill out as much your profile as you can, take things from your CV and try to sell yourself. From there you can go to the Linkedin Jobs section and apply for some in the same way as you do on monster.com.
To get the most out of LinkedIn I would recommend searching the Groups Directory for groups in the field you want to pursue and join as many as you can. A while ago I joined a PHP Developer group and ever since then I’ve got quite a few recruitment consultants contact me, so it does work!
Having said all this Social Media isn’t just a way to promote yourself, it’s a chance to learn from influential people in the industry, stay up to date on what’s going on and learn new skills.