Originally posted on onlinecolleges.net:
Before social media became popular, new grads and college students did most of their networking in person and on the phone, or none at all. And while there’s nothing wrong with an in-person, hands-on approach, today’s grads know that there’s a more efficient way to get connected with people who are important to their future, namely social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. That’s why we’re sharing a series on The New Networking, focusing on how 2012 grads can make social media a major part of their post-grad networking strategy.
Today, we’ll focus on Facebook, hands down the most popular social media site out there with more than 900 million active users. Although not traditionally regarded as a professional site, Facebook is an incredible resource for friendly networking, and it’s also the place you’re most likely to find the people you already know in your educational career: your friends, classmates, and even professors. Read on to discover tips for Facebook networking success as a new grad, useful pages, apps, and resources for further reading that are perfect for today’s recent graduates.
Make the most of your Facebook networking experience with these tips for success.
A recent CareerBuilder survey indicated that 30% of employers hired candidates based on something they liked about the candidate’s Facebook page. Giving a good feel for their personality, a professional image, background information that supports qualifications, and showing a wide range of interests were among the top reasons managers were convinced to hire a candidate based on their Facebook.
Practically every organization out there has a Facebook page, from the florist down the street to Target. Chances are, there are plenty of potential employers that you can “Like” on Facebook. By all means, do so, and then spend some time connecting with the Page to get on their radar and get a feel for their culture.
Spend some time going through your photos on Facebook, making sure that you’re projecting an employer-friendly image and removing any that might be embarrassing. Untag yourself from inappropriate photos on your friends’ pages as well.
If you’ve been involved in charity events, internships, and other activities that show you in a professional light, be sure to add those photos and give them prominence, even their own album. It’s also worthwhile to consider having a professional photo taken to serve as your profile photo.
Now that Facebook is on a Timeline, new grads have a great opportunity to turn Facebook into a virtual resume. Update your profile to reflect your new educational status, list organizations that you’re a part of, and highlight lifetime accomplishments to give potential employers and networking partners a better idea of what you’re all about.
Identify people on your friends list that might be able to assist you in your professional career, and let them know that you’d like their help, whether you’re looking for advice or a job. Of course, you should also make yourself available to them for assistance as well.
Facebook allows you to group friends by category into lists. Create a new list that includes professional friends, and check in with this group to interact for professional networking.
Stay active on Facebook by sharing links, photos, and news about causes that are important to you, and resources that are relevant to your profession.
There’s no need to be ruthless, but carefully think about who you’re taking with you into your new professional life. Some unsavory characters like your frat boy drinking buddy (who didn’t actually graduate on time with you) might be better left off of your friends list. Employers will judge you based on your connections.
After you cut out “friends” who are better left behind in your college days, think about who you might connect with that will help you in your life as a college graduate. Family friends, college professors, friends from your alumni grou
p, and influential people in your area of expertise are all great examples of people you should be connecting with on Facebook.
A recent study of 400 college students’ profiles indicated that 47% of status updates might be judged as inappropriate by an employer. Consider keeping controversial status updates to yourself, or simply make them private.
Speaking poorly of an employer just makes you look bad. If you’re conducting a job search, prospective employers will see you as whiny and difficult to work with. Currently employed? Once they see that fiery status update, you might not be employed for much longer.
Facebook offers a great way to get connected, but you should take care to spend time with connections off of the site as well. Go to networking events (even ones set up on Facebook), take a friend out to lunch, and simply spend some time putting yourself physically out there to stand out in a sea of recent grads who may not be doing the same.
The best Facebook pages to follow are the ones you find yourself: those that cater to your interests and allow you to network with people who are relevant to the career you’re looking for. But there are a handful of pages and groups that we recommend every new grad takes a look at.
Your alumni association
Get connected with your college alumni association, if you aren’t already. This page can help keep you up to date on news, jobs, networking opportunities, and more.
Search for and identify groups that may be helpful to you professionally, including industry groups, job search communities, and special interests that you may have.
Find motivation, tips, and resources for finding a job on the Monster.com page.
Easily one of the most popular job networks on Facebook, the Career Network page regularly shares links to job boards, news, and resources for job searches for new grads and beyond.
Find news, opportunities, and camaraderie on this Facebook page for new grads.
CareerBuilder’s page offers tips for job seekers, resources for networking, and more.
useful facebook apps
Whether you’re recommending a friend or finding a job, these Facebook apps have a lot to offer for the young networking crowd.
On Facebook Marketplace, you can sell your old sofa, pick up a deal on a laptop, or even get a job. Check in with this app regularly to find out if there are any jobs available for you in the Marketplace.
Using Reppler, you can keep a consistent online image on your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
You can strengthen your network by helping others get a job. Use the Hire My Friend Facebook app to help out your friends who are job searching, sharing their professional profile and qualifications with employers who may be looking for a candidate just like them.
Creating a Jobs tab for Facebook, users can apply for jobs, share them, and even get a look into inside connections they may have with a company.
BeKnown from Monster brings professional networking to Facebook, allowing job seekers to connect with contacts, friends, and more. You can also view and apply for jobs, get endorsed, and be automatically matched with jobs based on your
CareerFriend pulls the employment information of your friends to find potential job opportunities that may exist in your network, so you can find great positions through your friends, family, and colleagues.
For further reading and insight into how you can make Facebook into the ultimate new networking tool, check out these excellent posts on the subject.
Check out Mashable’s guide to using Facebook for professional networking to find out how to set up your Facebook profile professionally, finding networking friends, and more.
ReadWriteWeb shares this guide for stepping up your Facebook networking efforts with regular status updates, added content, relevant photos, and more.
GigaOm shares this guide on using Facebook in a professional way, discussing strategies like finding old coworkers and current connections, joining interest groups, and carefully limiting wasted time on Facebook.
This WikiHow offers practical tips and steps for creating a Facebook profile that’s ideal for professional networking.
This article indicates that 1.4 million Americans have Facebook to thank for finding them a job. Click through to find out why being “super social” on Facebook and other social networks can really pay off.
This revealing article and infographic discusses how recruiters use Facebook and other social networks to weed out unsavory candidates and identify great ones. Check it out to find out why some candidates are rejected, and some are hired based on what’s found on Facebook.