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The Daily Illini

Social media can make or break job opportunities

Madeline Galassi, Special Sections Editor

They say you only have one chance to make a first impression, and in 2017, sometimes that comes before meeting someone in person.

Social media plays a role both in student’s job searches and in companies finding potential employees.

Often, companies search a potential employee on social media before scheduling an interview, and a positive social media presence has the potential to make or break a job opportunity.

Jessica Hogue, the director of career services at the College of Media, explained that social media has changed the job search for the better.

“Social media has made the job search easier because it’s something people didn’t get to use before,” she said. “I talk a lot about having a personal brand, and with social media, you can have your brand out there during the job search.”

Tracy Samantha Schmidt, a social media executive coach, spoke at a College of Media networking event on Jan. 13.

She advised students on how to take their social media presence to the next level and make a positive impression on employers.

Schmidt explained that social media is all about consistency.

Having the same profile picture across all platforms can aid in getting recognized.

Although social media can seemingly be more prevalent to media-based majors, Hogue explained that students of all majors could benefit their careers with social media.

“For people in careers that want to be leaders or possibly get noticed by potential employers, social media can be really beneficial,” she said. “For them, their social media would just look a little different. They would spend more time talking about projects they’ve worked on or research they’ve done, but it can be relevant to their subset of people that they’re trying to interact with.”

The job search can often come with a fear that a potential employer could find a Tweet or Status from the past that might prevent them from hiring a candidate.

Luckily, most college-aged students are all in the same boat, as most grew up with social media.

However, Hogue explained that deleting unprofessional posts is essential.

“It’s all about whether or not you’re OK with having a presence from five or 10 years ago, and what that says about you,” she said. “Do you want to take the time to double check everything you’ve ever tweeted, or just scrap everything and start fresh? That really is up to you.”

Schmidt explained that a great first step in double-checking your social media is to preform an “Incognito” Google search. Then, the information that someone Googling a name for the first time, rather than results based on what someone had previously searched, would appear.

It can also be important to have some sort of social media presence — whatever that may be.

“I always tell students never to get rid of their Facebook accounts. Just start using them differently.

Think of how you can use it to expand your network of people based on who you already know,” Hogue said.

LinkedIn is a very important social media platform and its self-proclaimed goal is to help people network professionally. It has the potential to provide opportunities to those who utilize it.

“I have seen people successfully find internships on LinkedIn,” Hogue said. “They seem to be making their interface more employer-friendly, and it makes it easier for them to find potential candidates.”

Hogue suggested students of every major make a LinkedIn account and always stay up to date with their profiles.

One of the more challenging parts of making social media accounts more professional can be finding a balance between catering to both professionalism and staying social.

Schmidt suggested dividing social media content equally between three topics: you, the people around you, and the things that interest you.

“If you’re using a platform for all professional reasons, don’t post a picture of you out on a Saturday night,” Hogue said. “But, if your platform is more about who you are as a person, I think that’s fine. It all depends on how you’re using it.”

Social media has modernized the job search and changed the way people get hired and find jobs.

As it continues to evolve, the job industry will as well.

mgalass2@dailyillini.com

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