Getting a job after graduation isn’t easy.
In fact, the Canadian youth unemployment rate for people 15 to 24 dances around the 13-14% mark. On top of this, the average post-secondary graduate carries a debt of $28,000. The stats are bleak, no doubt about that, but there are things you could be doing right now to get yourself ahead of the curve. Whether you’re in school or not, you could be using social media to improve your post-college job prospects.
That is, if you do it right.
According to new research by the Young People’s Consumer Confidence Index, one in 10 young people have been rejected from a job because of their social media profile.
Surprisingly, the one silver lining in an otherwise bleak economy is the social media sector. Despite the overall grim job market, a report by McKinsey Global Institute estimates that social media-related projects could add between $900 billion to $1.3 trillion to the overall economy. Yeah, you read that right, that’s trillion with a “t”.
We all know that social media plays a huge role in customer service and marketing efforts for almost every industry. The demand to hire young savvy professionals who understand social media and how business can leverage social, is massive. In fact McKinsey estimates that by 2018, the United States could face a shortfall of 1.5 million data analysts and managers to cope with the flood of data to their businesses.
The stats: youth unemployment dances around the 13% mark. Post-secondary graduates carry an average debt of $28,000.
Who better to fill in this job gap than millennials? Students who were born between the 1980s to early 2000s, are the perfect candidates for the majority of in-demand digital communication jobs because they’ve grown up on these platforms. In fact, 90 percent of new jobs in the next year will require information and communication technology skills. Social media was even named one of three top digital skills essential to a company’s success in a recent study by Capgemini Consulting and more than half of companies polled lack social media skills.
This is a virtual gold mine for college grads and digital natives. Most millennials are used to using the Internet for everything from online shopping, online tutoring, and even online grocery shopping (convenient!). But even so, more young people are getting rejected from these in-demand jobs and it’s not because they don’t have the skills, it’s because they’re using the platform in the wrong way. That’s right, your selfies are turning employers off. (Read that 1 in 10 stat that students aren’t being hired because of their social media usage again.)
Most young people using social media are more concerned about looking good for their friends than attracting potential employers. This may explain why selfies are rampant on the Internet.
What’s a Grad to Do? For Starters, Don’t Hide
It’s important to keep in mind that whatever you post on the Internet, stays on the Internet. Consider that future employers, family members, mentors, and professors can find the things your posting if they really want to. As much as people hide behind private accounts or protected tweets, these parameters aren’t necessarily keeping them private. Even though that might seem a bit creepy, there really isn’t any reason to hide from social media. In fact, if you know and understand how to leverage social media, you can use them to land a new gig, no resume required.
Tips on How to Use Social Media to Land a Dream Job
The great thing about Twitter is that you can connect with almost anyone in the world without a gatekeeper. You don’t need to go through Lena Dunham‘s manager to tell her how much you loved her new book. You can just tweet her! And guess what, she might be cool enough to tweet you back.
Do you aspire to be a broadcaster, developer, or designer? I bet the people you aspire to be are tweeting their way through life right now. Reach out and begin a conversation! Start by tweeting what you like about their work. A genuine compliment can go a long way and you never know where it could lead you to next. After you exchange a few tweets, go a step further and direct message to get more specific and exchange emails.
Instagram is a great community for showcasing your creative side and to connect with other talented creatives around the world. As much as I love cracking up to comedic gems like @thefatjewish, try to branch out from following celebrities or only people you know. Explore hashtags, get inspired by others and find users in your city who are leading in an industry. Once you find a feed that you love, let them know! Like, comment, and direct image message the user to begin a one-on-one conversation. After some time, you can even initiate an in-person meet-up and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to expanding your creative network.
As soon as moms started joining, Facebook became the lame little brother of the social media world. Regardless of how you feel about Facebook, whether you use it or not, be sure that your privacy settings are appropriately adjusted so that unwarranted users aren’t going through all of your tagged photos from last week’s rager. Better yet, go ahead and untag yourself from every photo of you at a rager. Trust me, you’re better off.
Better yet, go ahead and untag yourself from every photo of you at a rager. Trust me, you’re better off.
Keep your Facebook profile neat, tidy, and avoid rant status updates. I know it’s tempting to go on a rampage about how much you love or love to hate Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but trust me, it’s better if you just don’t.
If there was a magical golden social media ticket for landing your next dream job, LinkedIn would surely be it. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, start one (whether you’re job hunting or not). Make sure you have a professional-looking photo uploaded (no selfies!), include a bio, and at least the last job you’ve worked at. If you’ve never been employed, volunteer positions are just as valuable so make sure you include that. Start connecting with professors, past employers, babysitters, your mom’s friends, and anyone else you can think of! You never know who could lead you to your next great gig.
Remember, easy with the selfies. Your future employer is watching.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.