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Social media sites assist in the job hunt

Published: Monday, January 28, 2013

Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 01:01


Nick Pfosi / The Tufts Daily

LinkedIn is a valuable addition to the student job search.

Everything happens online these days, and the job search is no exception.

Career Services advises all Tufts upperclassmen pursuing summer internships and jobs following graduation to take advantage of social media sites as a supplement to their applications. The effective use of social media in the job search can be a useful networking tool, provide valuable company information and express creativity and personality.

In today’s recruiting market, employers expect results to come up when they Google an applicant, according to Shimrit Paley, Assistant Director of Career Development at Tufts Career Services. Beyond ensuring there are no red flags that could sabotage a candidate’s chances in the application process, employers are looking for a professional representation of candidates online.

LinkedIn is one of the bigger social media outlets that can be utilized to control an applicant’s professional online presence in a positive way. The free basic service allows users to create profiles listing their academic and professional accomplishments.

“LinkedIn profiles have really high search−return rankings, which makes it possible to control what a future employer finds,” Paley said.

Students looking to network can benefit from setting up profiles on social media sites such as LinkedIn in order to connect with co−workers and contact potential employers.

“It’s a great networking site that allows you to see who you know and how you know them,” senior Maggie Riddle said.

Riddle emphasized the site’s importance in her own job search. Using LinkedIn, she was able to identify connections with and contact target employers, including Tufts alumni.

Career Services holds a LinkedIn Lab twice each semester to help students set up effective profiles. During this workshop, students learn about how to connect with Tufts alumni from a variety of industries and how to create a target list of organizations to start a job search, Paley explained. Additionally, the workshop offers tips to maximize a LinkedIn presence by personalizing connection requests, joining Tufts and industry groups, utilizing company profiles to prepare for interviews and linking a profile to other social media efforts, according to the Tufts Career Center handout.

Twitter provides another opportunity to get in touch with employers. Nancy Wang (LA ’12) began following the Twitter account of a company for which she was interested in working. Within two minutes of retweeting a post about working for the company, she received a direct message from a human resources representative asking her to send a resume, Wang reported. Within an hour, she had sent it in and had her foot in the door.

Although Wang’s success may be a rare case, social media sites such as Twitter can be used to gather information about a target company, including job openings, and serve as an additional outlet to initiate connections.

As part of a senior project during her time at Tufts, alum Katharine Seim (LA ’10) maintained a blog for Tufts’ Career Services to assist students with their job search.

“I was able to educate myself on important topics, such as networking skills, resume building and business etiquette,” she said. While Seim didn’t use social media sites directly in applying for a job, they provided valuable information she was able to use later in the application process.

Many job applicants use social media to personalize their applications and stand out from the pool of candidates.

“Due to the sheer volume of resumes that recruiters receive, applications can start to look alike,” Seim said.

Seim gave examples of how to creatively improve a job application using social media.

“For instance, instead of just listing your skills or projects on your resume, upload examples of them onto an online portfolio hosting website,” she said. “If you gave a speech or performance that you are particularly proud of, include the YouTube link in your cover letter.”

Blogs can be a platform for making a good impression professionally, in addition to expressing oneself, Paley said.

“A lot of students do a really good job of creating industry specific blogs that speak to their interests, show their creativity, academic interests, and highlight them in a professional, positive manner,” she said.

Cady Macon (LA ’11) shared similar sentiments from her experience reviewing job applications.

“Job applicants can leverage social media to create a personal brand,” she said. “A recruiter who may once have seen you as [a] Tufts senior, International Relations major, [or] occasional Dean’s List member, may now see you as that, plus [a] well−traveled [person], amateur baker, social activist and musician.”

Despite the prevalence of social media, more traditional networking techniques remain important in finding a job.

“You need to have strong interpersonal skills, communication skills and professionalism, and we have plenty of opportunities for students to practice these skills including networking events throughout the semester and a Dining With Confidence program on business etiquette,” Paley said.

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