Here are three tips from Tamryn Hennessy , National Director of Career Development for Rasmussen College, to help you utilize social media to its fullest advantage:
1. Do a little snooping: You know that you need to research a company before you go into an interview, but social media allows you to take it one step further. Besides just visiting the company's website, utilize LinkedIn to learn more about the company and find out if you have any connections in common. Plus, what better way to strike up a great conversation with the person who will be interviewing you then to know beforehand what you may or may not have in common? Use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find out what your interviewer's interests are, what their professional history is, and anything that you might leverage to make yourself standout from your job searching competition. When you demonstrate to an employer that1. you've gone the extra step to do research, he or she will be impressed by your initiative.
2. Prepare to be snooped: It's not just you doing the snooping. You must realize that before you're even called in for an interview, employers and recruiters are looking at you online. All they have to do is Google you, and they will have full access to you online. Check out your Facebook profile as an outsider by viewing your Facebook page without logging in (or just ask a friend who you trust to evaluate your profile for you), and make sure that your profile is clean. Is there anything on there you wouldn't want your hometown newspaper to write about or any photos you wouldn't want your grandmother to see? Take this opportunity to clean them up now, and utilize your privacy settings. You can set them so that only your friends can see specific content about you. Also, if you're a Tweeter, and you Tweet about things that aren't necessarily professional, be sure that your profile cannot be traced back to your real name. In some extreme cases, you may have some outdated or negative things about you online that you can't get rid of. If this is the case, you can work with one of many external organizations to ensure the unwanted is less prominent than the positive information; this is referred to as curating or optimizing your online profile.
3. Stand Out From the Crowd: So you know that employers are going to be looking at you online, and you have the opportunity to not only present a clean, professional online persona, but also stand out from your fellow job searchers by just doing a few things. First, ask for recommendations on your LinkedIn profile from people who you have worked with in the past and who have a high opinion of you. It's important that the people who recommend you also maintain professionalism. Also, if it's appropriate to your career field, start a thoughtful blog that showcases your expertise and demonstrates your potential and thought-leadership to employers. You can also follow thought-leaders on Twitter and possibly engage with them in casual, yet professional ways. Finally, join LinkedIn groups where you will "virtually" meet valuable connections and make your own contributions to discussions.
For those of you who are on the job search, Rasmussen College is hosting a National Career Expo on Thursday, August 25, and there are three locations in the Chicagoland area where you can go and meet employers. All you need to do is dress professionally, bring several copies of your resume, and remember to clean up your social media accounts beforehand!Aurora/Naperville: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Mokena/Tinley Park: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Romeoville/Joliet: 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
For a list of employers and more information about the Career Expo and the free career workshops we have going on that week, visit www.Rasmussen.edu/careerexpo.