How Should College Graduates be using Social Media?

social mediaSince the introduction of Facebook in 2004, social media has grown by extraordinary measures in the past decade, and in like manner, upcoming college graduates have grown dependent on it. As such an integral part of their earlier lives, you might be surprised at just how much social media will affect graduates’ future careers.

One aspect of social media that upcoming college graduates have to understand is employers’ new use of “social recruiting.” Whereas cover letters were once the first impression employers received of job applicants, today they have likely already Googled you before you even step in for the interview. According to Undercover Recruiter, 86 percent of recruiters plan to look at candidates’ social profiles before hiring. Employers are looking for how their potential employees conduct and represent themselves online. Essentially, before applying for careers after college, graduates should take the time to clean up their online presence. Removing any references to illegal drugs, sexual comments, profanity, and even poor grammar from candidates’ social pages increases the likelihood of a favorable impression by as much as 78 percent.

While these remarks may make it seem that social media overwhelmingly hinders a job search from the start, it also presents job seekers with a unique opportunity to market their professional image. With so many recruiters using social recruiting to determine whom to hire, why not use your online presence to further promote your candidacy? According to Fox Business, only 16 percent of recent graduates spend time proactively improving their professional presence online. With social media being such a major factor of graduates’ resumés today, here are some quick tips from Wojdylo Social Media to better market yourself online:

  • Have a professional photo as the profile for your social accounts
  • Keep your LinkedIn updated and to the point
  • And link to your professional website, online portfolio, blog, and more to your social accounts so that employers can easily learn about your brand and character.

Finally, perhaps the most exciting aspect of social media for upcoming college graduates is the broadening job market that it offers. According to U.S. News, 46 percent of employers are looking to hire recent college graduates to their company, with 16 percent of that figure specifically searching for candidates skilled in social media. While it takes more than just the ability to use social media for these positions, graduates looking to enter this subfield of marketing and brand image are looking at an expanding job market with many opportunities for advancement. Overall, social media will continue to evolve and influence the professional world, and upcoming college graduates would be smart to use it to their advantage.

By Kerstin Cook