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How New Grads Can Use Social Media to Jump-start Their Careers

Over the past several years, social media has changed how we network, search for jobs, and grow our careers. As savvy internet users, today’s college graduates are in a unique position to apply their social media knowledge to find work – from internships to entry-level jobs.

For the millions of college graduates preparing to enter the workforce this spring, it’s a great time to consider how to use social media to jump-start their careers. If used strategically, your social media presence may just help you find your first job. Follow these tips if you're interested in learning how to use social media in your job search.


1. “Clean up” your accounts before you start networking.

Begin your social media clean-up by checking out your accounts’ privacy settings. Consider making your accounts unavailable to the general public or limiting which posts are publicly displayed.

If you choose to leave your profiles unprotected, do a quick scan of your information, and consider taking down any compromising pictures or posts. Any blatantly inappropriate or controversial content could result in points against you as a job candidate. Companies consider how you, a prospective employee, advertise yourself.


2. Make your profiles appear more professional.

If you would like your social media profiles to do some of the talking during your job search, make sure they present you in a professional manner. Choose professional headshots/profile pictures and consider leaving out the filters.

Use your resume information to help fill out your online profiles, keeping your information consistent. If you’re a recent graduate, you may not have much work experience just yet, so consider listing any relevant coursework that could set you apart from other applicants. You might also include volunteer experience and share work samples or links to school projects relevant to your desired career path.


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3. Network on social media with intention.

Once your profiles are updated, you can begin networking. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Connect with alumni from your school and see who they know that may be able to refer you for a job opportunity.  
  • Keep an eye out for networking event advertisements.
  • Meet people with similar interests and career goals by joining “groups,” or use hashtags to navigate through topics that apply to your career goals.
  • “Follow” companies you are interested in working for and take note of their mission statements, their employer brands, workplace cultures.
  • Let your followers know you're looking for a job. This may open the door to new opportunities, and you may receive guidance from peers within your field.
  • Join conversation threads regarding topics that could lead to career opportunities.


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Using the Right Platforms to Network

Now that you know how to start networking on social media, let’s review some of the key social media platforms and why they’re beneficial for recent grads:

  • LinkedIn: Recent grads can use LinkedIn to directly connect with potential employers, alumni from their school, and employees at companies they’d like to work for. You can also join groups, participate in conversations, show off work samples, and apply for jobs right on the platform.
  • Facebook: Like LinkedIn, Facebook is great for connecting with other professionals in your industry as well as searching for networking events, webinars, and other opportunities to expand your knowledge. There is also an entire “Jobs on Facebook” feature that allows you to surf through millions of job openings.
  • Instagram: This platform is perfect for learning more about potential employers and their brands. Follow businesses you’d like to work for and scroll through their feeds for insights into their company cultures and what makes them tick.
  • Twitter: Consider using Twitter to make connections with people with similar interests and career aspirations. You may also follow thought leaders in your sector and keep abreast of industry trends and topics.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is great for creative professionals such as graphic/interior designers, artists, and clothing brands to share their products and services. You may consider using Pinterest to show off your work samples and build a portfolio.


For more helpful articles that include job search advice for college grads, including additional tips on using social media for networking, check out iHire’s Career Advice library

By Hailey Rosinski, Guest Author | May 03, 2021
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