Use Social Networking to Your Advantage

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There are plenty of stories about people landing coveted internships via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In a recent survey, 28 percent of college students said they plan to use LinkedIn in their search for a job. Social networking media certainly has its benefits. Are you logged on and linked in?

Here, we’ll show you three easy steps to help you reap big rewards from hours spent online.

Step 1: Clean Up Your Act

You’ve likely heard the stories about teachers being fired for things they write on Facebook. Times are hard and the difference between you getting the job and starving might just be that one status you post in a fit of anger. While deleting prior posts might not permanently erase your record (I’ve heard there are ways to look back at such things), you should move forward with these rules in mind: No foul language and no badmouthing your boss or coworkers. In fact, make it a rule that you’ll avoid negative comments altogether. Write those thoughts in your diary and duct tape that to the underside of your bed.

Also, I understand that sometimes, with all the stress you’re facing at school and work, you need to unwind every now and then. But if you’re going to participate in things that are, ahem, illegal, make sure no one is taking pictures. I’d tell you to avoid those activities altogether, but I’m not your mother or the police.

Step 2: Make Connections and Follow Your Industry

Check out those sidebars that suggest people you might know. Maybe you don’t know them, but you know people who do. Get introduced! Find their email addresses and send them a quick message asking to meet for coffee so you can pick their brains (this is called an informational interview; more on those later).

Follow companies and other names in the industry you’re interested in on Twitter. Tweet them and introduce yourself. Ask if they know of internship opportunities. Some of the connections we’ve made here at M.L.T.S. have been made via Twitter. Now and then you’ll see cool things like giveaways that you can enter; that’s how Elizabeth Kellogg got to attend an Herve Leger fashion show.

Step 3: Get Noticed and Self-Promote Like Crazy

Retweet interesting things from your favorite companies and respond. Link to your own content, projects, blogs, etc. Tweet or post statuses with your own thoughts on things. Tweet about major companies and use trending topics (in real ways), like the guy who goes by @Lord_Voldemort7, to garner attention and gain fans. Be witty or sarcastic. Find your social media voice and stick to it. These are all techniques to earn you more attention. The more attention you get, the more fans or followers you have, and the better you look in today’s working world.

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