Sponsored Links: Did you know that social media can help to land you your first real job? Many job seekers are still using traditional job search methods which may unknowingly be the cause of the poor responses they get. Up until a decade ago, if you had the right “hard” skills (i.e., C++ programming), you were almost guaranteed a job. You could almost trade your university degree for a job upon graduation. Then, as the economy changed and became more competitive, companies started to pay attention to a new set of skills, soft skills. Soft skills (i.e., communication, organization, leadership, etc) became increasingly important as a way to choose one candidate over another. Companies were interested — and still are — in passion, teamwork and cultural fit. But when two candidates look the same on paper, the differentiator will be their online influence. Most young adults have used social media to connect directly to friends and share personal experiences casual conversations with their networks. It is estimated that the average young person uses Social Media at least 10 hours in a day. Yet most people hardly realise interacting on social networks with an eye toward your career is achievable. Using social media for professional purposes doesn’t mean you have to give the conversations up. In fact, most times, it makes a person come across as more genuine and more approachable. But refining your language, highlighting content and information that’s more career-focused, and connecting and conversing with more people outside your immediate group of friends signifies that you’re interested in more than just the personal. Less obvious, but perhaps more effective, is the ability to connect directly to the brands you’d love to work for, as well as the people behind those brands. While you keep your eyes peeled on job postings offline, here are 7 ways to use your social media to land you your first job. 1. Google Yourself Yes. This is not necessarily the first step but googling yourself will help you know your first impression to potential employers. So what comes up when you google yourself? If you’ve ever posted anything under your real name then it could show up in a search. So if you’ve ranted about an organisation or expressed any views that are contrary to their policy, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. It’s best to get this sorted before you start applying. It’s much better to have nothing much associated to your name on Google than to have an online profile that makes employers turn their heads. This just means you can right the wrongs. It’s time to remove them from the eye of the public. Make them completely private; even your friends shouldn’t have access to them. Delete them even, but quickly replace them with better pictures and more reasonable content so that if possible, they don’t look like they were done recently and you at least, have a little of yourself on the internet. 2. Get a Professional Email Address Think about your email address too. It’s time to graduate from your childish email address. If you’ve been using a very random email account as your primary email address, you might want to think about setting up an alternative address for your applications. Upgrade to a Gmail account. And please make it a professional sounding email. Nobody hires Barbie234@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. 3. Open a LinkedIn Profile If you’re not already on LinkedIn, you must get a profile. Like, now. [You must Login or Register to see Link] , we’ll wait. Okay, good, you’re back. Now, go on that new LinkedIn page and start putting it to work. First, fill it in completely. Think of this as an online home for your CV: all your education, skills and experience should be here. Don’t leave your photo blank: upload a simple, flattering headshot. Now, start making connections. LinkedIn allows you to find people in a variety of ways. You can search manually, port over your email contacts and have LinkedIn find your friends that way, or you can find your college or university and browse users that way. Connect with your friends, but also connect with people in your academic field and in any organisation you belong to, even if you’re not close. You should also connect with any professors and respectfully interact with them ocassionally. It won’t be difficult getting advice or recommendations from them when in need. 4. Clean up your Facebook and Twitter Potential employers will look at your Twitter and Facebook. Yes, that’s the world we live in. Some students think they are smart, so they might change their Facebook name to “First Name Middle Name”, apparently assuming that they’re going to avoid being found by nosy relatives and potential bosses. Guess what? Facebook and Twitter are getting smarter with searches. You might fool your grandma, but you won’t fool an employer that really wants to find you. This is not to say that your Facebook and Twitter profiles should be blank, though; they need to reflect your interests and competence. Share some smart articles with your comments on them. Write about things related to the industry you’re about to become part of. Make knowing you interesting on these platforms. 5. Set up a blog Applying with a CV and cover letter will not always work. Studies show that recruiters spend about eight seconds on a CV. This is obviously not a long time to impress them. However, creating a blog with content that stands out and showcases what you have done before may do the trick. This will demonstrate initiative and, if you do it right, could be a good way of showing off your creativity and communication skills, as well as presenting a suitably professional image. If your blog address is on your CV, then it’s an opportunity for someone to spend more time checking you out, sharing your story and work samples, and learning things they never might have never taken the time to dig into about you otherwise. Your blog can serve as the perfect platform for sharing your work and ultimately landing you a job. But if you create one and no one sees it, it’s not really doing the trick at all. So make sure you update your CV and social media profiles with the link to your website/blog, and include it in your email signature, so when you’re communicating with employers, it’s left, right, front and center. 6. Augment your Social Media Presence with Job Search Apps and Forums People are starting to use mobile applications to see job openings near them and apply with just a few touches of an iPhone or Android. In fact, it is estimated that 20% of job seekers use their smartphone in their search for a job. These mobile apps often put employers and jobseekers on the same platform and let you set up a profile that can in turn attract these potential employers. Also, people quickly forget important social forums but they are great for getting people to recommend your skills easily to interested employers. Do not neglect to create an impression or profile that bangs just because you are not face to face with an employer. 7. Finally, spread the news Remember that the internet isn’t just there to catch you doing the wrong things. It can also be your friend in the recruitment process. You might want to to share a Facebook status update or a tweet that shows you’re looking for a job. There is nothing to be ashamed of: you just got your degree and you’re ready to put it to good use. Think of a good update that won’t seem desperate. Tell your friends to share the status/tweet and recommend you to people they know. Some graduate recruiters use social media to make it easier for graduates to get in touch and find out about their organisations. This can be an excellent opportunity to network. Constant self-promotion is almost always frowned upon in social media. Remember it’s a public arena. Keep most of your posts (at least 80%) to conversation, third-party content, general comments and questions, and keep the sales pitches at a minimum. Instead, think about what types of content will give your audience the most value, especially when it also suggests you’re open to educating yourself on a wide-range of ideas. Most importantly, use social media wisely.