Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search

by Ashley Knezevich, Campus Recruiter, Walgreens

What is a social media “presence” and how do you build yours effectively to utilize in your internship and full-time job search?  Here are some tips on how to create and leverage your presence online.

Develop a digital brand

A social media presence is your digital brand that communicates to others externally about your personality, your qualifications, even your likes and dislikes. Most of us already have a social media presence due to Facebook and Twitter – where we share personal information via the internet to our friends and family.  Your personality comes out through the groups you’re a member of, companies that you “Like” or “Follow”, and even your status updates communicating your daily experiences.

Join professional networks

You may want to keep your personal social media presence separate from the workplace. Professional social media can be used to build out your brand professionally to catch the eye of potential employers, as well as allow you to learn more information about opportunities available at different companies.  LinkedIn is a professional networking site with over 175 million users globally.  Through this site, potential candidates can list their qualifications and past job experiences (much like a digital resume) for the purpose of connecting with other professionals online.

Through LinkedIn, I recommend building out your profile until you reach 100% completion. Don’t have enough material to complete your profile? Not to worry! Keep working on your industry experience and qualifications and eventually, you will get there.  Don’t forget that LinkedIn is student or new grad friendly and has sections where you can outline your class projects and coursework as well.

Start connecting

The next step is to build your army! Once you have a profile that sufficiently reflects your past experiences, start searching for connections that you may know. That can include past or current employers, professors, and even classmates and alumni.  These are people that you know and have worked with (i.e. professionally or on a class project), or that you’re interested in further networking with (i.e. friends, an industry professional that you admire).

After you have built your army, start thinking about asking for endorsements via LinkedIn. Endorsements are a great tool to receive recommendations on your quality of work from those you have reported to, services you may have provided to clients (maybe you built an amazing website for a friend), and even classmates that you’ve worked on projects with.  Endorsements can show potential employers that you produce great work and that the people you have worked with value your contributions.

Participate in groups

Lastly, begin to leverage groups as a great resource for networking and potential job opportunities.

You can join groups specific to your industry of choice, companies that interest you, and even topics that you may enjoy (i.e. finance, digital marketing, C# experts, Adobe Photoshop ).  Some companies (including Walgreens) have groups that are specifically targeted to providing company and job/internship information to students, as well as provide a way for students to contact recruiters directly for more information.  This is especially important if you’re really interested in a specific  company that may not recruit on-campus at your school and enhance your presence on their radar.

True story…it really works!

Last summer I was able to connect with a Marketing student via LinkedIn, who was interested in our corporate internship program. The student noticed my internship posting and sent me an InMail message to inquire further about qualifications.  I directed her to apply online and then set up a phone call to discuss further and the rest was history—she landed the internship!

Ashley Knezevich is currently a Campus Recruiter with Walgreen Co., who maintains the Company’s LinkedIn student page, Walgreens Student Lounge.  She graduated from Millikin University with a degree in English-Writing and recently earned her PHR certification.

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