So you’ve moved that tassel over from one side of your ridiculous hat to the other and as you walk back down the aisle toward the exit, the loose gown feels heavier with the weight of the real world. Your extended family who so graciously came to town to sit through four hours of strangers names being called has left with their checkbooks in tow.
It’s time to start the job search.
Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter by doing a web search of your name. What comes up? Does it seem like an accurate portrayal of your employment candidacy? Chances are it might be lackluster.
So where do you begin? I recommend starting by reading this Student Caring article about cleaning up your social media. With a revamped and professional social media profile at your disposal, it’s time to put it to work.
Specifically, with Twitter start following industry leaders and important figures from companies that you’d like to work for. Retweet them to start building a relationship, or at the very least some name recognition. Add your own thoughts when you do retweet, so you’re not just doing it robotically. Secondly, join industry conversations. Twitter chats are aggregated by including a specific hashtag. Generally, a quick Google search of your industry and “twitter chat” will return some good results. Here’s a decent starting point: Twitter Chat List By Day of Week. Start by participating in chats with lower numbers of attendees. Work your way up as your confidence increases. Participating in Twitter chats is a good way to get exposure, as well as to learn and establish authority.
As banal as LinkedIn can feel, the reality is that employers use it. According to Washington State University’s online MBA program, 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn in their hunt for new employees. Now is also a good time to be updating your resume. Kill two birds with one stone by also updating your LinkedIn at the same time. The two should reflect the same skills and experience, so when you tailor one, tailor the other as well. Similar to Twitter, follow Industry leaders and share their articles.
Go through your own list of contacts to see if anyone you know has industry connections. Don’t feel guilty about this, everyone is doing it now. In the current job market, there’s a lot of truth to the adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for this. If your sister’s college roommate’s dog has a connection to a company you want to work for, it’s a good start. Anything that could potentially lead to a referral from within the company will put you head and shoulders above the competition.
Companies that you want to work for need to see you as someone who will be valuable to them. According to Jessica Cheng, Director of Career Services at Pepperdine University’s Graziado School of Business and Management, a job seeker should, “really know the employer that they’re gonna [sic] be interviewing with, to do their research, to know their mission, their vision, what is it that they actually do and how they’ll be able to fit in…that context.” If you do eventually get that call inviting you to come interview and you’ve done this, you’ll be prepared. The hiring manager will be foolish to let you go.