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Can You Tweet Your Way to Success?

Social networking: the new way to land jobs and internships

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Big social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are proving good for something other than consuming years of our lives. Students are putting them to work to find internships.  

Joyce Rogers, assistant director of career services at the College of Communication, encourages students to join LinkedIn. The free professional networking Web site that allows users to collaborate with working professionals, says Rogers, is an excellent way to get noticed in the job market and by internship programs that can pave the way for careers.

COM students can join COM Connections on LinkedIn and others can join the Boston University Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Members Networking Group.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn shares only members’ résumés and job experience. “As a potential employer,” says Rogers, “I don’t want to look at your party pictures on Facebook.”

Employers who go online take notice of candidates with a “positive brand,” says Steven Rothberg, CEO of CollegeRecruiter.com, an online company where students can search for internships or entry-level jobs. Rothberg says that students should use social media to connect with managers in the fields they are targeting. “Follow them, re-tweet their information, and tell them that you’re interested in working for them,” he says.

Broadcast journalism graduate Nick Gagalis (COM’09) did just that using Twitter and Facebook. He says he used Facebook to find out about internships by “Facebook-stalking a family friend” who belonged to a group page for ESPN Boston. Gagalis interned for Careerealism as a public relations tweeter and got an interview after tweeting about and to different minor league baseball teams. He now works as a radio broadcaster for the Hudson Valley Renegades in New York.

Connecting with employers via social media also allows students to learn how to tailor e-mails and cover letters to particular companies and gather interview pointers for internship programs, says Kim Proctor of Internships.com. Social media give students the opportunity to “really shine,” she says.

“Give them a reason to connect with you — showcase your skills or knowledge by providing links to your video résumé or any of your online activity that is professionally oriented,” she says. “Show you care about their work and explain how you can help them — employers will greatly appreciate that.”

Many career services representatives prefer the LinkedIn to Twitter and Facebook, but some students prefer the informality of Twitter. And it gets results. Becky Steinberg (COM’10) says Twitter helped her “follow” and grab the attention of the CEO of a small PR start-up in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“He knew I was looking for an internship in NYC by reading my Twitter ‘About Me’ section,” says Steinberg. “Within a week I had an interview.” And although that firm wasn’t hiring, Steinberg says it introduced her to one that was and that ended up giving her a job.

While the social media three continue to skyrocket as avenues for internship searches, Chelsea Merget (COM’12) advises students to also check out other sites, such as Brazen Careerist, for internship postings.

Careerealism founder J. T. O’Donnell believes that social media will be used more and more by forward-thinking employers.

“Social media–savvy companies are most certainly using these tools to find interns,” says O’Donnell. “It helps them find candidates who have up-to-date technology skills. Eventually, all companies will be using these tools to recruit. It is only a matter of time. It’s effective and inexpensive — two words every company loves to hear.”

Nicole Rojas can be reached at nrojas@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @nrojas0131.

2 Comments

2 Comments on Can You Tweet Your Way to Success?

  • Steinar Knutsen on 04.29.2010 at 9:09 am

    Good advice

    Social media can be a great way to showcase your skills, experience and personality. If you want to use Facebook, set up a Facebook Page, that way you can share your technical savvy without exposing your private Facebook profile stream. Also, buy yourname.com and use it as a platform for personalized email address and a clearing house for all things about you.

  • Anonymous on 04.29.2010 at 7:10 pm

    Web site is now website. If you followed #APStylebook on twitter, maybe you would have known that.

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