Graduating from college soon? In addition to cramming for finals and tweaking your portfolio, make time to learn how to use social media to your advantage. Following are eight social media tips to help you in your graphic design career job hunt.
|Check out The Designer’s Guide to Business and Careers for more real-world job advice.
- Clean up digital debris. When you apply for a position, assume that hiring managers are going to search online for information about you. Google yourself, check privacy settings in your social media accounts and scrub any questionable content. The same off-color comments or risqué photos that amused classmates could lead prospective employers to question your professionalism. When in doubt, make friends with the Delete button.
- Link in. You’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for years. You have a WordPress site. You joined Pinterest before it was a household name. But if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to your graphic design career. The world’s largest professional networking portal has more than 150 million members, with students and recent college graduates representing the site’s fastest-growing demographic.
- Fill in the blanks. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn provide space where you can summarize who you are and your specific graphic design career goals. An incomplete profile is a missed opportunity. Craft a clear and concise bio that highlights your relevant work experience, internships, education and objectives. Help employers and recruiters find you by using keywords common to the graphic design industry when describing your skills and interests.
- Add value. It’s fine—and expected—that a portion of what you share online will be of a personal nature. But keep the “what-I-had-for-lunch” updates in check. From a job-seeking standpoint, you’re far better off writing about graphic design industry trends, sharing links to noteworthy articles or posting images of your latest graphic design work.
- Use discretion when connecting. Networking sites make it easy to reach out for job leads, introductions and general career assistance. But proceed with caution. You won’t get far if you inundate contacts with requests but rarely return the favor. Be gracious when asking for help, offer prompt appreciation and look for ways to reciprocate. As the saying goes, give and ye shall receive.
- Critique with care. As you’re probably well aware, a great deal of design commentary occurs on social media. If you jump into the fray, showcase your knowledge and critical thinking skills, not your ability to conjure up harsh zingers about others’ work. (Example: “Who’s the genius who created the ugly new logo for #GenericCompany? Horrible!”) A series of cogent critiques will impress hiring managers; an endless string of sarcastic quips won’t.
- Build your brand. Designers help companies build brand awareness. But is your personal brand imaging consistent and cohesive? For instance, consider creating a Twitter background featuring design elements that appear on your resume and online portfolio. If you’ve committed to using social media to find a job and for ongoing professional purposes, you also might sync your Twitter feed with your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts.
- One final tip: Proofread. No matter how witty or insightful your posts, you won’t be taken seriously if they’re full of typos. Mistakes are magnified, for instance, when you only have 140 characters to work with. Slow down and proofread your status updates and tweets. While the web is a more relaxed medium, the basic rules of writing still apply when using social media to find a job.
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