Embracing social media for future jobs


by Mariah Young

Last Monday, “social media guru” Nathan Wright spoke to over 80 students about the importance of personal branding and social media.

Wright’s number one piece of advice to college students: get on LinkedIn. He also discussed strategic uses of Facebook, Twitter and several other programs.

When the forum finished, I walked across campus back to my room feeling incredibly energized. Wright made it clear to me that I had several useful tools right at my fingertips.

If social media is used effectively, people can jumpstart themselves.

Wright also spent a portion of the evening discussing businesses’ use of social media.

“The porn store is on Facebook, businesses are past that,” Wright said.

This particular comment of Wright’s has really stuck with me. If everything and everyone is on Facebook, how do I set myself apart?

LinkedIn is one very beneficial answer to this question.

Many are unfamiliar with this program; so let me take a moment to explain. LinkedIn can be thought of as a Facebook for professionals. Instead of adding friends, people make “connections” to extend their networks. The profile on LinkedIn displays a resume, work experience, recommendations and other general professional information.

“Paper resumes are dead… Google is the first page of your job application,” Wright said.

With this in mind, it would be a shame for a person’s first impression to be a lack of one. Wright stressed the importance of LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn provides the opportunity for control over this, as well as to make connections with future employers.

People have heard over and over again the importance of networking. LinkedIn is instant networking at your fingertips. If you really want to get in touch with future employers and make an impression, get on LinkedIn and get connecting.

Wright suggested Twitter as another way to connect via social media. Many don’t look at this as a tool for professional development, but he gave several examples and statistics of its importance.

Twitter is a highly effective tool for personal branding, especially considering the number of people posting and checking Tweets on a regular basis.

I agree with Wright completely on the use of Twitter. If you tweet ideas and information that contain more than just what you ate for lunch, you are actively branding yourself.

Another thing Wright brought to students attention in terms of personal branding is their use of Facebook. Employers check even if you don’t expect them to, so he encouraged keeping those photos from your drunken nights to yourself. This is a great piece of advice to hold on to.

If those photos being up are more important than getting a job, then, by all means, let this advice be for someone else.

Social media will continue to play a larger and larger role in our lives. Embracing Wright’s advice can help give you a competitive edge in the future.

As several students chose to attend the homecoming kickoff and watch fireworks, many others attended a forum event that could benefit their professional future.

For those who were unable to attend the forum, I would pass on the advice to go next year if the opportunity presents itself. If it isn’t an option, get on LinkedIn and Twitter and explore.

Be proactive in developing your future.

Mariah is a freshman and member of PRSSA, Student Alumni Assocation, Kappa Kappa Gamma, track and volleyball. For more, follow her on Twitter at @MariahKYoung