Economy & Jobs

Graduating Your Social Media Presence from “College Kid” to “Young Professional”

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If you’re a recent grad or a senior in college, you’re likely spending a lot of time thinking about how to land your first job. An important—but often overlooked—factor is understanding how your social media presence affects your job search. Many employers now Google their top candidates as a standard vetting procedure, and if they don’t like what they find, they’ll move onto the next person. To give yourself a leg up, strive to graduate your social media presence to “young professional” status. Here’s how.

Get on LinkedIn

Creating a LinkedIn profile is a vital first step toward employment—after all, many employers and recruiters use this social network to look for qualified candidates. To get started, simply add your skills and experience, your alma mater, some examples of your work, and any associations or groups you belong to. Write your LinkedIn bio in the first person, because this gives you a chance to show your personality and cultivate your personal brand. When your profile is complete, start connecting with people already in your network. When you meet someone who works at a company or in an industry you’d like to be a part of, expand upon that new connection by sending a request to connect on LinkedIn along with a personal message.

Clean Up Your Photos

If you’re like most Millennials, you likely have selfies and pictures with your friends on your Facebook and Instagram accounts. If any of them show you holding booze, wearing inappropriate attire, or participating in questionable activities, remove them. This should be obvious, but is an all-too-common mistake. In general, don’t put anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your family to see.

Be Engaging on Twitter

Twitter is a conversation, and it’s host to a lot of interesting, professional conversations every day. Start tweeting about relevant topics in your desired field. Follow people who are thought leaders in your industry. Tweet to them, retweet their thoughts, and share their work and the work of others you admire. Microblogging is a great way to connect with people you think are out of reach. As you become an enthusiastic supporter, they may take notice. This could lead to some wonderful opportunities in the future.

Embrace Pinterest, YouTube, and Vine

Many companies aren’t using social media effectively, so you can set yourself apart by showing you’re savvy and highlighting your immediate value. While a company you love might be on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, they’re likely underutilizing images and videos. Craft a Pinterest board to show them how well you know their brand.

Animoto reports that “four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it,” but many businesses don’t know where to start. Brainstorm a YouTube series that the company could produce to set it apart from its competition, or create a Vine showcasing one of its products.

Ultimately, social media isn’t just about presenting a professional image—you also want to reveal your strengths. These days, the whole Internet can be your resume. Use the above tips to show your dream company exactly the type of ingenuity you will bring should they hire you.

Sophia Bera, CFP® is the Founder of Gen Y Planning and is a financial planner for Millennials. She's passionate about providing comprehensive financial planning to people in their 20s and 30s across the country in a fun and accessible way. She is a contributor for AOL's Daily Finance website and has been quoted on various websites and publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo, Money Magazine, InvestmentNews, and The Huffington Post. She was named one of the "Top Financial Advisors for Millennials" by the website: Sophia is a sought after speaker and presenter and a founding member of the XY Planning Network. In her free time, she enjoys performing as an actor/singer and traveling the world. Follow her on Twitter @sophiabera or buy her new Kindle ebook on Amazon called: What You Should Have Learned About Money, But Never Did.