One of the most rewarding parts of your college experience is securing an internship. Unfortunately, it can also be incredibly frustrating! One second you’re sitting in class – probably playing Trivia Crack – and waiting to go home. The next, you’re being reminded that you need to put yourself out there in the real world if you want to get a job post-college.

It’s scary, but luckily our generation has a new tool on our side: social media.

While we mainly use social media in our personal lives, it’s an incredibly useful way to make your internship search easier. And it’s not just college students frolicking through the web; Jobvite.com asked over 800 employers if they use social media for their recruiting, and a surprising 94% of employers said yes!

So, how do you stand out to employers on social media? Follow these tips:

  1. Create Your Accounts

The first step is to actually sign up, if you haven’t already! You’ll want to make sure you use LinkedIn at the very least, but Twitter and Facebook can also be great networks to connect on.

If you’ve got a Facebook wall or Twitter account that reads like a frat history, be sure to make those accounts private and consider creating a separate Twitter for professional use only.

  1. Maintain Professionalism

Once your new, professional account is set up, make sure it stays professional. Use these guidelines to start:

  1. Use your real, full name
  2. Have a profile photo that makes you look competent, friendly, and professional
  3. Write a professional bio that tells visitors a little about you and what you’re looking for
  4. Keep all content on your page, whether you create it or repost it from somewhere else, appropriate and relevant
  5. Be Proactive

There are many aspects to being proactive on social media; here are just a few:

  • Follow, like and connect with people and companies that interest you. For those you don’t know well or are less familiar with, send them a personalized message.
  • If applicable, reach out to them directly and tell them you’re looking for an internship. Just be sure to sound professional and to do a little digging first to make sure you’re not missing any important instructions.
  • Check previous posts for job postings and respond to let them know you are interested. Even if it’s not an internship, you may be able to land a part-time or freelance position with even better experience and the possibility of working from home!
  • Find relevant groups that have helpful information, like your school’s career center or LinkedIn groups for that industry.
  1. Let People Know You’re Looking

Put it out there that you’re looking for an internship. Add it to your profile information, make a status update about it, or reach out to potential employers and connections. Anything helps, and when people see you’re available and searching, they’ll be more likely to contact you.

  1. Update Frequently

What good is your profile if it’s not up to date? Employers like to see an individual who stays on top of their social media game. It doesn’t have to be all original posts — you can repost things from other people and brands you find interesting, too.

Not only does this mix of original and reposted content make you appear as a well-rounded individual, it also gives your followers some insight as to who you are and what your interests are. And, if done well, it shows you’re knowledgeable in your industry. (Hey, some may even call you a thought leader!)

  1. Consolidate Your Accounts

Social media offers incredible organization for all your information, but when you have multiple accounts, it helps to have a central hub where they can all reside. Creating a personal website or linking to them on your LinkedIn account is increasingly important in the ever-evolving job market.

  1. Hyperlink Your Resume

Help your employers by including your social media links on something professional, such as your resume. That way they won’t have to spend time searching you out on the Internet (which they do). This also shows you’re a media-savvy person who wants their profiles to be seen!

By using these tips, you’ll find influential people and employers are just a click away online. You’ll get to show off your personal brand to the world, and once you land your internship, you could be a shoe-in for a full time position! In fact, 69 percent of companies offered full time jobs to their interns in 2012! If that’s not proof that using social media will help you get the most out of your professional career, I don’t know what is. So, post away…. And good luck!

 

Have you used social media to land a job? Share your story – and tips – in the comments!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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