By Kristen Wishon
The job search today is more competitive than ever, even for graduate students. And as a grad student, learning how to stay competitive during your job search can be last on your list – especially with theses and dissertations on your minds. Fortunately this is where social media can come into play and help you leverage your brand, skills, and research expertise during a job search.
Recruiters and hiring managers are looking toward social media to source job candidates. In fact, 92% use or plan to use social recruiting this year, with this number consistently increasing. But this isn’t the only group infiltrating the social space – other job seekers are there too. If you’re not there, someone else may be there to replace you.
Here are a few tips, tricks, and suggestions for optimizing your social media presence in your post-grad or post-doctorate job search:
1. Optimize your social profiles for your job search.
In the world of social media, your bio section is prime real estate for reaching interested audiences. By creating an intriguing, professional, and short bio on Twitter or LinkedIn, you’re letting people know your specialties and interests right off the bat. You don’t want to confuse employers though, so be consistent with your branding across social media platforms. Include keywords that an employer is likely to search for when looking for job candidates.
2. Use past classmates and colleagues as job connections.
While you’re in school, you’re constantly meeting new people in your courses, during assistantships, at conferences and presentations, and sometimes while you conduct your research. Consider connecting with this large group of students, professionals, and professors on spaces like LinkedIn and Twitter.
You can even use free tools like Jackalope Jobs to magnify these connections into possible job connections. Simply log in with your Facebook or LinkedIn profile and begin searching for jobs. What’s great with this tool is that you can instantly see whom you’re connected to at each job posting and potentially reach out to connections if you’re interested in applying.
3. Join the world of Twitter chats.
Twitter chats are interactive conversations on a specific topics hosted at a specific time on Twitter, typically surrounding a hashtag. You’d be surprised how many weekly or monthly Twitter chats exist, and some may be in your field. You can find full, but not always all-inclusive, lists of Twitter chats here and here. Never underestimate the power of networking on Twitter!
4. Make your resume pop on the web.
Figuring out how to translate research experience to your resume or cover letter can be frustrating. But have you ever considered visualizing this for employers? Consider using Vizify, Prezi, or Storify to showcase your accomplishments and resume visually, while linking this on your other social media platforms.
If you’re more interested in visualizing your research data specifically, but don’t have the creative chops, there are some great free resources you can use to showcase your work. Websites like Visualize.me, or Easel.ly help you create infographics for free with the click of a button. These tools are also great for non-designers and include premade templates to help get you started.
These are only a few tips and resources to help you successfully stand out from the crowd during your post-grad job search. While social media can certainly expand your reach, don’t forgo your traditional efforts such as phone calls, handwritten thank you notes, and meetings over coffee.
What unique strategies have you used to optimize your social job search?
Kristen Wishon received her Master of Science in Journalism from West Virginia University, focusing her research on health communication. She is currently the Digital and Community Coordinator at Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. You can find Kristen on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
The second episode of the PhD Career Guide PODCAST is now up and available for download from iTunes, Stitcher, and many other podcast directories. You may also listen to the episode directly on the PODCAST page!
In this episode Dr. Lawrence Sasso discusses his journey through graduate school and the process of becoming the founder and president of the medical device company Fluimetrics. This episode has some especially great advice for anyone who might be thinking about taking an entrepreneurial route after graduation. Among the many topics that we discuss, we specifically touch on who you should be talking to, what you should be reading, and steps that you should be taking right now if you want to take your research and spin it off into a new venture.
As always, please consider helping out by leaving a positive iTunes review and spreading the word by telling your friends and colleagues.
Some might think it narcissistic, but Googling yourself gives you a glimpse of what the rest of the world sees when someone is interested in discovering more about you. In social situations, like after a first date, the consequences of unflattering search results can be embarrassing to be sure (oh, that’s why they never called me back…). However, the real danger is the damage that can be done in professional situations like when you are looking for a job and recruiting managers decide to do their due diligence. That being said, stop reading and Google yourself right now, I’ll wait…
OK, now don’t hyperventilate; everything’s going to be just fine (probably). Your main focus should be the first page of results that comes up since most people don’t bother going any further than that when casually doing background internet snooping. What you saw on that first page of results can basically be sorted into one of three categories:
While specific details will vary, there are steps that you can take right now to address each of these situations:
For the situation where you have unflattering pictures posted from one of your social networking accounts, just delete them or make certain that you have your privacy settings set so that only your friends have access to your information and photos. If it happens to be one of your friends or family that posted an unfortunate picture and tagged you so that it appears in searches, untag yourself or contact them and explain how you would rather not have pictures of yourself be public without your permission.
If you happen to have a rather common name or are just really unlucky and discover that there are some unsavory characters coming up when you Google your full name, I have some good news and some bad news. Bad news first: there is really nothing that you can do to take the bad results down. The good news is that you can send the bad results down indirectly by creating new results that outrank the bad stuff, hopefully pushing your evil namesake off of the first page of results. How might this be done? Create some new web pages that display your name prominently!
Once all of these steps are taken, you’ll be surprised how quickly you and your accounts/web pages dominate the first page of search results. Even if you don’t have anything negative show up and you fall into that third category of being able to show your search results to dear old grandma, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by taking these steps to show that you are an active member of the internet society (there aren’t that many companies these days that consider technophobes viable candidates).
The bottom line is that the content on that first page of search results when someone Googles your name is not something to be taken lightly. In addition to any social consequences of embarrassing search results, there’s also a very real chance that the negative things listed could prevent you from getting that dream job that you’ve had your eye on. You now have the tools to fix those blemishes so no excuses, hop to it!
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