by Rosetta Thurman May 19
Everyone thinks that young professionals have completely mastered the art of social media. The stereotype is that Generation Y is always online, and companies are eager to tap the tech savvy minds of the “Facebook Generation”. I even took on that assumption during an interview I conducted for a new position my organization was hiring for. I asked the candidate, a recent grad in her early 20s, to share her experience using social media tools. She told me she knew how to use Ning, but didn’t know much about Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter. I almost fell out of my chair. For shame! A Generation Y job seeker who didn’t even have a Facebook profile? Where had she been living, under a rock with no access to wi-fi? For a job that involved communications and marketing, this was a big deficit in her knowledge. I was also a little miffed that I couldn’t find out any additional information about her online.
The nonprofit field is getting more competitive for top jobs as more and more candidates apply for positions with impressive education and experience. Instead of spending a fortune to go back to school, young professionals need to make themselves stand out by developing a strong personal brand that potential employers can view online. Are employers Googling you? Assume that they are. And if they can’t find you, you pretty much don’t exist. Yes, you can use social media to expand your network and position yourself for your next nonprofit career opportunity. Here are a few ways to get ahead of the game.
Post Your Resume on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is THE place to make purely professional connections with your colleagues in the nonprofit field or even that great speaker you met at a conference. Sign up on www.linkedin.com and fill out a profile with your work experience and educational background. List your accomplishments and professional memberships. LinkedIn also allows other people to post recommendations of your work. There’s no better way to market yourself than someone else writing a paragrah about how awesome you are! To see an example, you can view my LinkedIn profile here.
Professionalize Your Facebook Page
I know, you originally created your Facebook profile to keep up with your friends in college. But you’ve graduated now, and guess what? Your Facebook profile can be Googled. So make sure you remove all of those photos of you doing shots at the bar. All of them. (I know, it was fun. But it’s time to let go of the memories. Or at least just get rid of the evidence.) I’m not saying not to be yourself, I’m just encouraging you to consider whether your future employer would want to know about that side of you. Fill in the “Info” section of your Facebook page listing your previous jobs and educational background. And upload a nice headshot of your smiling face that anyone would love to hire.
Google loves blogs. Google loves blogs so much, they have a special blog search. If you have a blog with your real name listed on it, Google will find it. Sign up at Blogger or WordPress to get a free blog set up and start writing about issues that you care about, preferably somewhat related to the nonprofit field. It showcases your writing skills, social media savvy, and utter brilliance to future employers. Check out this fabulous resource to get started: Bamboo Project Readers’ Guide to Blogging for Personal Branding
What happens when you Google your name? If the answer is “nothing,” you’ve got some work to do!