Today’s guest post is by David Spinks. David is a student at SUNY Geneseo, an freelance interactive analyst for Ruder Finn, a social media enthusiast, a big Giants fan, an athlete, a gamer, an artist and many other things depending on who you ask. You can read this thoughts and opinions at DavidSpinks.com.
We grew up on livejournal, then upgraded to myspace, and finally matured to facebook. College students know their way around a social media platform, that’s for sure. The problem is many students limit themselves to the one or two big sites, or tools, and fail to recognize the great amount of potential these sites and other sites can offer you in your job search.
I have been using multiple social media tools while at school to connect with a lot of professionals that I would never been able to meet otherwise. From these connections I have been able to create a few job opportunities in a very tough job market. Make use of your social media toolbox, connect and collaborate like you were raised, and create opportunities for yourself!
The first step to establishing your presence in a field is to know what is going on in that field. Search for blogs by professionals and subscribe to their feed. Most news sites will also offer an RSS feed that you can subscribe to.
A good way to build a list of blogs to follow is to look up blogs on google, find a couple good ones, then look at their blogrolls. Usually good bloggers can recommend other good blogs. Try to subscribe to blogs with slightly different ideas so that you’re not only hearing one side of discussions.
You can also create a feed based on keywords. All articles that google finds with that keyword will then be fed into your reader. This is another good way to find more blogs to subscribe to.
When you start looking for jobs, you can subscribe to job boards and have all openings fed into your reader.
If you’re not on twitter already, you probably should be. If you’re skeptical of its value, there are plenty of great articles written explaining the value of twitter as a networking tool, and articles to help you get started.
Through twitter, you’ll be able to connect with seasoned and new professionals; allowing you to learn from their expertise, offer your own insights, and if you play your cards right, create job opportunities.
Once you’re comfortable and established on twitter, you’ll be able to keep with the most recent trends, innovations, and news in your industry. If you have a question, ask your loyal followers and receive instant responses. The greatest thing about twitter is that almost everyone is willing to help, myself included (@davidspinks if you have any questions).
This is a great tool that will not only allow you to create a professional presence online, found easily on search engines, but will also allow you to connect with professionals in your desired field from all over the world. You can use twitter to create connections with like-minded professionals, and stay connected through linkedin.
The Answers section is a great tool that I like to use every so often. You can discuss different ideas and prove your knowledge / enthusiasm to other professionals. If your answer is good enough (the “best answer”), the person who asked the question can grant you “expertise” under that topic.
These networks are great, but if you really want to create a name for yourself start your own blog. You need three things: Thoughts and opinions on your field of interest (if you don’t, you should probably reconsider your career) some writing skills, and time that you can commit to updating your blog.
Setting one up is really easy with services like wordpress (I use it) and blogger. Read up on some articles that provide advice on how to start a blog and get started! You can use your other social media tools like twitter, linkedin and even facebook to drive traffic to your blog.
Your blog will allow employers to see that you’re involved in the industry, you’re enthusiastic, and allow them to get an idea of your writing skills which may matter depending on your field. It will also give you a good google ranking when people search your name, unless you share a name with someone famous (I get a lot of hits from people searching “the great spinks” looking for the boxer).