Many of today’s college students use social media as their main form of communication, but getting them to use it in a professional manner can sometimes be a challenge, according to Lisa Severy, director of the University of Colorado Boulder Office of Career Services.
With many employers using social media and conducting Google searches as part of their employee screening process, creating a positive and professional online presence can go a long way in helping students land a job out of school, according to Severy.
“The easiest way to do this is through free tools like LinkedIn where you can create a profile and have your job experience information and references for potential employers to see,” Severy said. “I’ve also had students create web pages that are basically their ultimate resume. Employers that want just a little more information don’t have to search for it randomly but they’re provided with that information up front.”
However, simply building a professional online appearance is not the only thing students should worry about, says Severy. Minimizing a negative online presence can be just as important. A first step for many students includes not posting anything that could be viewed as unprofessional or embarrassing.
“When you’re job searching, your primary social media audience needs to be employers,” Severy said. “Some career counselors talk about it being the ‘grandma test.’ If you don’t want your grandma to see it you probably don’t want an employer to see it.”
Many colleges and companies around the globe are teaching students how to enhance a professional online image while minimizing anything negative, said Severy.
“I think having a resume in and of itself is not enough anymore,” Severy said. “Certainly you’re going to need a resume, but that can’t be the end-all, be-all.”
For more information on how to leverage social media as part a job search strategy visit http://careerservices.colorado.edu/students/LeverageSocialMedia.aspx.
Lisa Severy, Career Services, 303-492-4104
Greg Swenson, CU media relations, 303-492-3113