September 20, 2013

ON THE JOB: Share, like and follow your way to new career

by Shannon Niedzwicki
Guest columnist

---- — In this day in age, social media is the norm when it comes to communicating and keeping in touch with friends, family, and, quite frankly, everyone and everything. Have you ever thought of using this opportunity to network and land your dream job?

Facebook is one of the most powerful social media channels today and it amazes me that people use it more as an outlet than as an opportunity. Research shows that 30 percent of job seekers use social media as a way of recruiting with the plans to expand social media recruiting efforts in the near future. Some schools have even started offering virtual career fairs and online job interviewing to make it more convenient for employers while giving students more experience in this area.

If you are going to use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn as your primary way of searching for a job, there are a few strategies to live by. First, you’ll want to build your brand. When I think of brands, the first thing that comes to mind is Nike. Just Do It. When you see that side swoosh, you know that is Nike and there is no question about it. What is your brand? How do you want to see yourself? More importantly, how do you want others to see you? Make sure your profile is professional, clean and reflects the image that you want to portray. Employers will Google you before the interview, so clean it up. Do you know what comes up if you Google yourself? Try it and find out for yourself.

Second is to network, network, and network! “Like” and “follow” pages in your industry, join groups or forums pertaining to your interests and areas of expertise. Use LinkedIn or The Who? Button on Facebook to see where your friends work and make contact. The well-known phrase “it’s who you know” will never go out of style. Use these tools to make a connection with a long-lost high school friend who works in your industry and can help you get your foot in the door. Or connect with your neighbor’s cousin you didn’t know was in the same industry. Use social media to your networking advantage.

The third and most important way to use social media in your job search is to research industry trends and to stay up-to-date on the chatter that will keep you in the know. About once a week, I go to my FlipBoard app — the best thing in the world, by the way — which includes articles from The Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post and Education Insight to keep me informed on all things higher education. It keeps me educated and we all know knowledge is power. When you are in the know, you can comment on the company’s page, or better yet, tweet your comments to the company so they know you are doing your research.

While social media is still relatively new and tech savvy, remember to be old school in your values and presentation of yourself by updating your résumé to reflect your skills and experience. This job-searching tool will never go out of style because, as much as social media might land you a great interview or connection, your résumé and experience will get you the job!

Keep on keeping on. Wash, rinse, and repeat and you will soon land your dream job.

Shannon Niedzwicki, director of Career Services for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region, writes an occasional series of columns on finding jobs and succeeding in the workplace. For more information, email Niedzwicki at