Using Social Media in the Higher Education Job Search
by Jenna Spinelle
As the use of social media continues to grow, so too does its use in recruiting and job searching.
With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other tools in cyberspace, the need for both recruiters and job searchers to be strategic is greater than ever. Both job seekers and university employment professionals say that clear objectives and goals — not number of followers or fans — should drive social media efforts.
Jennifer Pedde, a Syracuse University graduate currently looking for a job in higher education, joined Twitter a year ago after hearing about its power as a professional connection tool.
“I lived abroad in Korea for two years and wanted to start making contacts when I came back,” Pedde said. “I found that it’s been the biggest help in my job search because it’s so easy to connect with other people — if you start following someone, chances are they’ll follow you back and respond to your messages.”
Pedde also participates in Twitter’s Job Hunt Chat, an event held every Monday at 8 p.m. where the community weighs on questions posed by job seekers. Although a Twitter account is required to participate in the chat, anyone can follow along by searching the hashtag #jobhuntchat on Twitter’ssearch engine.
Jacqui Washington, an Atlanta-based career coach, said she encourages her clients to use Twitter to connect with companies and, if possible, recruiters and hiring managers. She also maintains a Twitter account that she uses to find leads for her clients.
“I encourage people to think outside the box and work toward creating the job they want, rather than waiting for jobs to be posted,” Washington said. “These tools can help them take those steps.”
While Twitter provides quick connections and communications, LinkedIn allows job seekers a chance to list more detailed information about themselves and their companies, connect with current and past colleagues, and have longer conversations in groups geared toward specific professions and interests. Rebecca Martin, a career coach and founder of Dear Jane Inc., said an updated and polished LinkedIn profile is nearly as important as a resume in today’s job market.
“If you don’t have an updated LinkedIn profile, it really looks like you don’t know what’s going on,” Martin said. “Recruiters and hiring managers are starting to consider a LinkedIn profile just as important as a resume.”
Elements of a good profile, Martin said, include clearly-defined career summaries and objectives, information about non-work activities, and mentions of any awards or honors received.
“Most people don’t sell themselves enough,” Martin said. “If you don’t put the information out there, recruiters and hiring managers may never know about it.”
Pedde said she uses LinkedIn to connect with people she meets on Twitter, so that she can learn more about them and they can see more detailed information about her and her career objectives. Her social media efforts recently landed her a spot on “Extreme Candidate Makeover,” an online talk radio show where job seekers have their resumes reviewed by job coaches.
“They gave me a great set of tips and a lot of new ideas to think about and it was all because of a post I responded to on Twitter,” Pedde said.