In this digital age of job hunting, it takes more than a tweet or Facebook post to be ‘social media savvy’. Through my experience as an intern for MSR Communications, I’ve quickly learned how social networking is changing traditional methods of job hunting in the PR industry.
For all the young and aspiring professionals out there, this couldn’t be better news. But there’s more to it than that—if you want to be noticed in the current economy, you need to stand out and start engaging online now. No, this does not include professional Facebook Stalking or Twitter Spamming. With all the job and internship postings that appear online on a daily basis, these insider tips will assist you in cultivating and building your online presence.
1. Chances are that the important decision makers at the companies you are interested in applying to are active on social media. Find, follow and interact with them.
Once you start observing what your target companies have to stay, begin thoughtfully engaging with them. MSR’s intern supervisor, Joanna Riedl, observes that “in the PR industry, if people are talking about our client’s brands online, we want to know. The same goes for our own brand.”
If you think retweeting or commenting on industry news won’t build your profile or goes unnoticed, think again.
“We keep an eye on the conversation happening around us on Twitter by monitoring retweets and mentions,” Riedl notes. “When someone is genuinely passionate about what we do and wants to interact with us on a social media platform, they stand out. If someone is reaching out in a thoughtful, engaging way on a platform such as Twitter, we definitely take notice.”
2. Be passionate AND knowledgeable about what you put online. Passion will take you far, but doing your homework and knowing what a company is all about will take you even further.
These days there is much fiercer competition for a smaller number of jobs. Added to that, senior-level candidates are also applying for entry level positions. Being able to engage key targets, such as a potential employer, through online channels is an important asset that will help you stand out.
Joanna Riedl agrees: “By demonstrating your social media talent to those who are responsible for the hiring decision, you are setting yourself apart from the flatness of your resume in their email inbox…I would recommend that if you are going to be contacting an employer through Facebook or Twitter, make sure the picture you paint of yourself is favorable. Pepper your professional profile with just enough personality to stand out. In public relations, it is ideal to mix both without offending your professional OR personal contacts.”
3. Be consistent in posting. Your online presence will only be as good as the effort you put into it.
“Whenever an intern position opens we receive tons of resumes,” Riedl points out. “We get intern hopefuls who can talk the social media talk in an interview, but can they walk the walk?”
Obviously, one comment or retweet won’t take you very far. Real success stems from consistency and dedication to engagement. Find the targets that interest you and build a foundation on which the relationship may flourish. Putting in the hard work will showcase to employers valuable workforce skills.
So instead of lodging your resume out there the next time you’re looking for a job or internship, career contenders would be better suited to learn more about the ins and outs of social networking. The career opportunities are already there – the real question is, do you have what it takes to “walk the walk?”
-Tiffany Harrison, MSR Communications