Brian Hahn, a first year Engineering major at Mercer, does not have Twitter or LinkedIn accounts and he does not check his Facebook profile very often. “I haven’t checked it in a while because I don’t have a need for it.”
On the other hand, Michael Quinones, a second year Radiography major, said he uses his Facebook and Twitter profiles daily.
If experts are right, Hahn better start taking his profiles seriously if he expects to find a job. In an article published on the New York Times on January 26, 2012, “How to Say ‘Look at Me!’ to an Online Recruiter” by Phyllis Korkki, experts explained that “Not having an Internet presence can be damaging.”
In the same article, Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a career management company in New York City, explained that “Some employers aren’t even bothering to post jobs, but are instead searching online for the right candidate.” Which means that if you do not have strong social media profiles, you will be the first one to be cut from consideration.
The social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google + and many others have become very popular especially among young adults. “Social Demographics: Who’s Using Today’s Biggest Networks” by Alissa Skelton published on Mashable.com on March 9, 2012, reports that the majority of social media users are college students or have completed some college.
Gail LaFrance, Career Counselor at the Career Services at Mercer said to the VOICE that a lot of the students that look for her services don’t usually know how important social media is when looking for a job.
“Mercer students are on Facebook to find out about parties and most don’t even know about LinkedIn”, said LaFrance. “I usually show them my profile on LinkedIn and talk them into setting one up.”
Senior Recruiter with Randstad Technologies Ashlee Pilla explained that LinkedIn is a must have when looking for a job. “People usually think that LinkedIn is only for professionals who already have a career. But it is actually a great way for college students to start networking with people they would not have access otherwise.”
Pilla also said that are some things to keep in mind. “LinkedIn account is the best social network to connect with professionals. Facebook is not really useful when looking for a job. I suggest taking the profile down while job seeking.”
She explained that if you have a more formal Facebook page then it can be used to help you to expose your work. “If you have a page to show off your work or to promote your blog then it is ok.”
The reason for hiding the Facebook page is that people usually use their profile to connect with friends and family. According to the article published on Mashable, 67% of social media users in the USA said to use it to keep in touch with family; 64% to stay in touch with friends and 50% to reconnect with old friends.
“If you are comfortable with Twitter, it can be used strategically,” said Pilla. An example of how Twitter can be a powerful tool is the #HireFriday and #HFChat. Every Friday users looking for positions and recruiters looking for professionals will post it on Twitter and use the hashtags mentioned.
But as Ashlee Pilla mentioned, you need to be comfortable with Twitter to take advantage of it. One thing to keep in mind about this social network is because it only allows you to write short messages, you have to be able to create updates that are short, straight to the point and effective.
Another important point about Twitter is the speed messages are sent. People tweet all the time, and because of that you need to keep track of everything relevant to you that it is being posted so you can respond to it.
You also need to follow the people who are relevant to what you are looking for. If you want to know about the music industry or politics , you should follow the experts in those specific areas or if you are looking for a job you should be following recruiters.