The underutilization of LinkedIn and Twitter among Undergraduate students

I imagine a college senior would have given a bit of thought as to what they want to do for a career, where they aspire to work, and how they might accomplish this. I have noticed an alarming trend of undergrads not utilizing LinkedIn and Twitter for networking and personal branding purposes.

Both of these social media platforms offer so much to students (and non-students)! Through Twitter a user is able to search the social networking site using industry specific words to read posts, links, and even discover who the thought leaders are for the industry. The user can follow these folks and also communicate directly with them! For example, a simple search using #smm would reveal all posts related to SMM (AKA social media marketing) using that hashtag (#) or the top posts (you choose). After viewing the posts, one can browse, follow, and network. This is a very useful took for those looking to network with others in the same field or identify those you may wish to work for/with.

The same is true for LinkedIn. This professional networking site allows you to post and view profiles. It is a great personal branding tool for students who can post relevant information, a photo, Twitter ID, and blog site etc. A wonderful feature Twitter has is that the user can make connections and be introduced thru their existing network. In addition, LinkedIn offers many groups that are industry specific that can be used as a sounding board, advice, and even support. The Texas Young Professionals group would be a great place to start for my Texas students!

I am bothered by how many of my undergraduate students do not have a LinkedIn account. It is even more alarming that some still have not started accounts after my suggestions to do so. I do not think it is wise for a college student to rely on a “job fair” or browsing the internet for open positions. Students need to be a lot more proactive than that. Open a LinkedIn account and Twitter account and USE THEM! Utilize these tools to brand yourself as the employee the company you want to work for will WANT. Please post a photo and really think about your brand and overall goals. It does not happen over night, but the connections you make will prove to be a great source of support, information, and encouragement. Who knows you may discover an awesome internship! I see posts everyday listing amazing opportunities.

A great book on Twitter is “The Tao of Twitter” by Mark Schaefer. This book is a quick read (about 90 pages) and highlights why and how you should use Twitter for both your business and personal branding. It is a Great read! For more on LinkedIN, I suggest “Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn: An Unofficial, Step-by-Step Guide to Creating & Implementing Your LinkedIn Brand – Social Networking in a Web 2.0 World” by Neal Schaffer.

Visit the following sites regarding LinkedIn and Twitter and your job search (which should begin way before your last semester). Both sites offer a wealth of information:
1. Ten ways to use LinkedIn to find a job
2. Career Enlightenment

Other sites to help “brand” yourself for success:
* How to Empower Yourself on the New LinkedIn
* How to Find a Job using Social Media
* Blogging for Dummies: An Opportunity for Personal Branding
* Writing Your Personal Brand Bio When You Change Careers
* Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Personal Brand
* LinkedIn Strategies for Personal Branding
* How to Market Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn (INFOGRAPHIC)

photo credit: Kevin H. via photopin cc