If you’re a recent college graduate, chances are you’re having a rough time finding a job. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about – times are tough and opportunities are slim – but next time you log on to a social networking site, realize this simple action could help in your job search. U.S. News and World Report has compiled the top five ways for college students (and graduates!) to use Facebook strategically to do just that:
- Set your privacy settings appropriately: Nothing new here. I’m sure professors and parents alike have stressed the importance of blocking potentially damaging content from the public. That is solid advice but you should also take into account that there can be distinct advantages to crafting your settings to cater to a specific company, says David McDonough, director of career services at Clark University in Massachusetts. For instance, if you’re a student interested in a music company, publicly displaying your musical tastes “could be beneficial,” he notes.
- Evaluate your profile picture: Even the highest privacy settings on Facebook won’t restrict users from seeing your profile picture; while prospective employers aren’t supposed to discriminate, they could be influenced by a photo deemed inappropriate by company standards.
- Interact with companies: If you’re interested in a job opportunity with a specific company, you should become a fan of it on Facebook. Oriana Vogel, vice president for global recruitment and HR operations at American Express, explains, "We want them to come to us…and assess if we're the right fit for them."
- Participate in Facebook groups: Interacting with professional groups on Facebook is a great way to network with those who share your same interests, but more importantly it puts you in direct contact with recruiters. Keep in mind that being a member isn’t enough, though – participating in group discussions is crucial.
- Tap into your own network: "Getting a job has always been about who you know as much as anything else," Likeable Media's Kerpen says. "But the 'who you know' is multiplied by 10 from what it might have been 10 years ago thanks to Facebook." Take advantage of that fact and start messaging companies of interest as soon as possible!