Tips from the Future: Social Media & You

Today’s post is from my friend Jenn Whinnem, who is a corporate communications pro.

Jenn Whinnem

College students and recent graduates: do you plan to have a job someday? If so, ignore social media at your own peril. According to a 2009 report, 45% of employers are screening social media profiles. Sure, you can hide your Facebook profile and photos, but why not replace it with information about what a star you are at your field of expertise?

When I worked at Golden Compass, Inc., a staffing and recruiting firm, one of my unofficial duties was to talk to college graduates who were looking for work.

I talked to a handful of grads, and quickly discovered they were pretty unfamiliar with social media for business.  Profile on LinkedIn? Someone at the career center told them to get one, but they didn’t know what to do with it.  Twitter account? Hadn’t really bothered with it – Twitter sure seemed kind of stupid! Blog? No, what would they blog about?

Here’s what I told these grads they were missing, and this is only from a job-hunting perspective:

  • LinkedIn: The ability to see your network’s network and find meaningful connections. Got a company you want to work for? Easily see if you have connections to that company.
  • Twitter: Twitter is a goldmine for meeting more people in your field. I have connected with many professionals in my field globally who were willing to help me with my job search, mentoring, and solving work challenges. Recruiters are also on Twitter, and there is even a #jobhuntchat at 10PM EST on Monday nights.
  • Blog: Showcase your expertise in your field, connect with similar professionals (networking possibilities, anyone?), and list the success of your blogging efforts on your resume. (I admit I don’t do this, but it’s still a great idea.).

When you don’t take advantage of these tools, you lose the ability to create a professional portrait of yourself on the web. Popularly this is known as “taking control of your personal brand.” Joe Pulizzi wrote some of my favorite tips for this here.

Let’s say you’re convinced and ready to get started. Great! Here are some of the best how-to resources I’ve found:

Still not convinced? Gini Dietrich made a video for young professionals on the lookout for a job. Number one tip? Form relationships with people inside the company where you want to work.

With more and more companies jumping into social media for marketing, it won’t be long before the majority of their recruitment efforts take place online, too. Get a jump on this trend by engaging in the social web. This is the future. It’s time to add it as a friend.

About Jenn

Jenn Whinnem is a corporate communications pro at Zag Interactive, who enjoys sushi and social media – often at the same time. Make sure you connect with her via @JennWhinnem on Twitter.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Tips from the Future: Social Media & You -- Topsy.com()

  • http://soulati.com/blog Jayme Soulati

    OK, Jenn? HELLO??!! What a well-written and engaging post chock full of links galore and at tone that asks for more. You are a natural, and I am honored to be included in your recco list with the esteemed company you reference (not to mention Mr. Buscall who is tops in my regard, as well). Thank you!

    So, this is all about the nudge a bit further into the fray to get you into blogging’s rewards and nightmares, although the latter seem to fade as expertise builds (just so you know).

    In light of recent posts, this is strong, dead on, incredibly informative, friendly, and professional; exactly descriptive of you.

    Thanks, Friend!

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Jayme,
      I agree. Jenn’s come up with a fabulous post. She’s such a great writer too with such a gentle turn of phrase.

      I’m teaching a communications course this semester to a bunch of students and this will be required reading.

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Thanks for the vote of confidence Jayme! And I’ve been happy to share in your blogging journey.

  • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

    Good thing I’ve been exercising lately – because I’m running fast to jump on the bandwagon of confirmation that THIS is a great post with useful links and information. Jon’s right Jenn, you DO have a gentle turn of phrase – persuasive yet not at all pushy.

    Jon – so glad you opted to go with a Guest Post today ~ this is definitely a ‘breathe of fresh air and delightful new voice’ type of posts.

    Jayme – how wonderful it must feel to be considered one of your friends! … Sally.

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Thanks very much Sally! If I convince even one college student to give social media a shot I’ll consider this a success!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Hello Jenn you traitor. Now you’re in Buscall’s camp? Did you forget about {grow} or did the bastard seduce you with promises of herring? OK, so he’s smarter than me and he’s a better writer and figured out how to do podcasts and he sounds like Sean Connery. But I have good qualities too … like … well … it’s obvious. Plus I found you first. So there.

    Just so you know, next time you want to write a guest post for me I will say yes in a second instead of a nano-second just to show you.

    And as for you Buscall, this means war. Next thing you’ll probably be interviewing my friend Michelle Chiemlewski or something. Oh wait, you stole her too you rascally Scandanavian. Have you no PRIDE??? I am throwing you into a vat of blåbärssoppa over this one.

    I am going to write a guest post for you that will blow you out of the water once and for all. It will be the Mona Lisa of blog posts.

    And your readers will think, “oh my, what a wonderful blog post!” Did Jon eat some extra kåldolmar today? But NO! They will see it is me. Why? Because they will notice my hair and realize that it is not you. They will see what a true blogger is about, like the Northern Lights rising over a Swedish blogging wasteland. And I will not steal your friends with promises of pickled fish. They will follow me as their new leader and we will live on {grow} happily with no fear of Viking raiders like you.

    Let it begin.

    • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

      Hey Mark, you forgot better looking. Jon is ALSO better looking than you. And more mentally stable, apparently. *Grabs Jenn’s hand and RUNS*

      • Mark W Schaefer

        Behind every jest hangs a tear.

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          @Mark – Now you really made me laugh :)

        • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

          Good Golly, when I saw you all decked out in blue earlier today with that big puffed out chest and streaming red cape ~ I thought, “Wow, Mark’s a SuperHero!”. I’ll give you credit where credit’s due big guy – you’ve certainly taken whining to a whole new level …

      • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

        So you got the money through PayPal then?

        • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

          Yes, and no one will ever be the wiser! I’ve typed this in invisible ink!!

          • Mark W Schaefer

            Dear Ms. Sally Gentle (yeah right):

            I am writing you on behalf of my client, Mark W. Schaefer.

            Mark is rightly upset that you have maligned him in a public forum — most notably, claiming that my client walks around in a red cape. His cape is blue. I have seen this with my own eyes and believe me, it is not something you would forget.

            Also, please utilize this new technology called “spell check” when writing your comments. You mistakenly typed “whining” instead of “winning.”

            You will be receiving a letter on real paper soon because I am a real lawyer and I’m not kidding.

            Yours truly,

            J. Tull, Esq.

          • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

            Dear Mark’s Real Lawyer who will be sending me a Real Letter,

            Please make it a G.

            Much love … xx

            PS: I have also sent a box of tissues for his tears – and a down comforter to cushion his bruised ego …

    • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

      Mark, What are the odds running, you vs. Jon in this true blogger greatness war? How do we place our bets? *runs away with Sally and Jenn*

      • Mark W Schaefer

        Davina, I thought you to be a rational business woman. Surely you know the odds are clearly in my favor simply because I will cheat if I need to, including making up fake comment accounts on Jon’s blog to praise my efforts.

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          @Mark
          Fake accounts? Jeez, I never even thought of that strategy. You’re so ahead of the game.

        • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

          Mark, I figured you’d fight dirty, and at least you’re honest about it. Hey.. Transparency! Disclosure! Woot. ;-)

          • Mark W Schaefer

            Yes, I also go by the names of Jayme Soulati, Guy Kawasaki and Captain Mysterioso.

      • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

        Oh, that’s easy. Mark tops me. No doubts about that. He has the best community I’ve come across – closely followed by @GiniDietrich.

        I love engaging with you folks at Grow. Thanks for stopping by my site today :)

        • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

          You know, it’s comments like this that {grow} delusions of grandeur. Having said that, I’m a fan of all three of you.

          And Jenn ~ thank you for writing a post that got great minds debating!

          • Jenn Whinnem

            Sally you’ve been cracking me up all day! Thanks for that!

        • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

          Gini and Mark do have great communities, to be sure. Glad I stopped by.

          • Mark W Schaefer

            OK. I like you again.

        • Mark W Schaefer

          Jon, I am glad you are trying to pay proper tribute to me and the people you have stolen from my community, but it too little too late my friend. Too little too late indeed. The sardine is out of the can and he ready to rumble.

    • Jenn Whinnem

      I so owe you a guest post Mark. You had asked, but the timing was off – I was transitioning jobs and had no time to think.

      But, otherwise, I am LAUGHING!

      • Mark W Schaefer

        Don’t try to suck up to me now. The damage is done. Oh gosh, that Christmas present I bought you was SO NICE, TOO. What will I do with this very expensive and rare cuddly KITTEN now??

        If you do a guest post I might … just … use it. : )

      • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

        @Jenn, I think the real issue here is that folks just love your writing. You’re SO in demand

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      @Mark,
      The trouble with the vikings is that they conquered so much of the world. And, hey, didn’t Leifur Erikson discover the US in the first place? (Maybe, that’s why my son is called Leifur!)

      But seriously, Jenn is SUCH a great writer I couldn’t resist asking her after reading her piece on @Jayme’s blog.

      And a guest post from you? Whenever you’re ready, my friend. I’m definitely looking forward to that.

      And just so you know, I’ve found a fabulous restaurant that serves the best herring here in the city for when you and your wife finally make it here to the capital of Scandinavia.

      • Mark W Schaefer

        I have to admit I like Vikings. If a Viking were a blogger, that would be me. Kick ass. Take names. Eat raw meat. Smell of fish.

        Since you have named your son after this great explorer, the first American, my heart has softened. Perhaps we can share some Surströmming, down it with my favorite drink Enbärsdricka with a hint of lime and do a podcast together. This would be ideal because I still have not figured out how to do one on my own. As you know.

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          @Mark, I would be delighted to podcast with you! But surströmmning aren’t my favourite. The smell is horrific. A Swedish kräftskiva with Swedish crayfish, västerbotton pie, pickled herring and crisp white wine. That’s more like it.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    Jenn, this is good advice for new grads… or someone who’s transitioning in their careers, which these days is almost anyone. The point about recruitment shifting online, Gini’s vid about networking from within all speak to tapping that hidden job market. Finding, mining or creating that network will be of greatest benefit, even if you’re not in a social media related career. FWIW.

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Davina, you perfectly summed up my intent with “Finding, mining or creating that network will be of greatest benefit, even if you’re not in a social media related career.” My experience with students and graduates (I’ve also managed a few interns) is that they may not understand the power of the network when it comes to finding that first job. The social web provides a great way for people who don’t yet have the network to GET the network.

      • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

        Here in Sweden a lot of students really don’t get it yet. They’re still tweeting their lunch, talking on MSN and not really using LinkedIn. Like I noted the other week when teaching some students, they were so entrenched in the non-digital world which really shocked me given the fact we’re one of the most online countries in the world.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      What about those folks out there who’ve already messed up their online profile? What do you think is the easiest way to rebrand your personal brand ?

      Personally, I think it’s a regularly updated blog on a domain name that shares your name. Or one close to it. Trouble is, the John Smiths of this world either have to change their names or work reallllllly hard.

      • Jenn Whinnem

        Sounds like a great follow-up post Jon…how to clean up your personal brand!

      • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

        Hmm.. think Jenn is right, good idea for a follow up post. A name-branded website works, but you also have to clean up those other networks: untag compromising photos on Facebook, amend your Twitter profile to reflect your new focus. Create new profiles on untapped networks like LinkedIn or Google profile. Sure the search engines may remember the bad, but over time the positive things like regular on-topic blog posts (and comments elsewhere) will help bury the negative.

        As for the less easy fixes, I also think you should spend more time improving your professional reputation vs. developing your personal brand. Image is important but not everything; do the work, do it well, admit mistakes and what you’ve learned from them (i.e. “Today’s Post: why I don’t put naked bowling pics on my FB anymore.”) and move on. FWIW.

        • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

          @davina
          One of the tips I give students is to copyedit pictures in Facebook. E.g. The day we raised SEK 30000 for charity (under the party picture).

  • Pingback: Jenn Whinnem()

  • Pingback: Mark Schaefer()

  • Pingback: Hot In Business()

  • http://www.sustainabledad.com/ Chris Baccus

    Excellent article Jenn. There are really some useful tips and links that you have shared here for both new grads and any job seeker, not that I’m either right now.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      @Chris,
      I totally agree. That’s why I posted a link on my students’ Facebook Page. But I wonder if they have the time to read a full article. I really hope so.

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Hey Chris, thanks so much for stopping by! Considering your social media expertise, I’m flattered that you found this useful.

  • freelancerant

    Great article Jenn. I’m on Twitter and around the blogs when I can but you’ve convinced me that I really need to get cracking and take it further rather than keeping it as the current “chit chat” status. Writing on to-do list now…

    Wow, looks like I missed the party here and, err, looks like someone below there has been around the punch bowl for a while now.

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Hey Johnny, thanks for that! Let me tell you, I didn’t start off with any of these things trying to network with anybody. I started off with Twitter, etc, trying to learn how to use social media for GC. Networking was simply a by-product. I connected with some great, generous people, and I realized that college students could really benefit from the “open access” aspect of something like Twitter.

      It’s been a little more difficult for me now that my full-time job isn’t social media – I need to get back to paying more attention.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Good to hear from you, Johnny. Looking forward to your own blog updates :)

  • Pingback: Jenn Whinnem()

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    You pulled a lot of really great resources – I’d forgotten about the LinkedIn one and it’s super valuable for anyone starting out. Thanks for pulling all of it together in an easy-to-read post!

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Thanks Gini!

  • Pingback: Carrie Bond()

  • http://www.businessesGROW.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    Y’all crack me up! Work should always be this fun. I’m glad to “meet” such an intellgent, fun group of people.

  • Pingback: Mark Schaefer()

  • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

    Thanks to everyone who commented on Jenn’s post. It was a lot of fun and really made my day.

    Special thanks to Jenn for putting together a great piece that’s very useful and Mark for bringing in his own unique take on the post and really kicking things off. You guys rock!

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Thanks Jon for the opportunity to write for such a great blog and community! I too enjoyed all the responses.

  • grandjordanian

    Jenn, this is a great post! I wanted to make sure to send along a link to something I’m working on with a team at http://www.socialmediafaq.org/archives/37, which describes the efforts of a jobs board in Silicon Valley that is researching how social media is impacting the workforce and what fluency and skills prospective employees will need in the new economy. Would love to hear the comments of your readers since they are obviously knowledgeable and passionate when it comes to social media!

    • Jenn Whinnem

      Steve, how did I not know you were doing this? I will definitely read more this weekend so we can talk.

  • Pingback: Christine Galvin()

  • Pingback: Don Ronlund()

  • Pingback: Gini Dietrich()

  • Pingback: Jenn Whinnem()

  • Pingback: Who’s Minding the Store? Vacation and the Solo Pro | Marketing, Public Relations and Social Media Blog | Atlanta, GA()

  • Pingback: Killer Minnow: A Tale of Small Business Social Media Success | Marketing, Public Relations and Social Media Blog | Atlanta, GA()

  • Pingback: Sunday Sweets With My Twitter Friend Jenn | Soulati - 'TUDE!()

  • Pingback: Continental Motor Works()