For the second week of our Social Media for Success campaign, we're looking at how Facebook can help get your graduate career moving.
Last week we showed you how you can put Twitter to work in your graduate job hunt, and now we want to show you that Facebook is not just a tool for procrastination, but an oft-overlooked opportunity to advance your career. So here are six tips to make the most of the social networking site.
1. Networking (a.k.a. Facebook Stalking)
Facebook is huge - estimates number its users around the 1.23 billion mark. That's a lot of people - and a lot of opportunities to network.
How does this help your job hunt? Most traditional communication with potential employers is in the form of faceless emails and applications, with the occasional phone call. Facebook offers a chance to create a more personal connection.
We're not suggesting you go straight for the "+Add Friend" option, but rather use Facebook as a tool to gather information. If you can locate the hiring manager, or someone in the department you're applying to, you might be able to see if you have something in common. Perhaps a mutual friend, a shared interest, a group you both belong to - whatever it is, you may be able to use it in a phone call or interview to forge a more personal connection.
But a word of caution - it's easy to overdo it on the Facebook stalking, so keep it light and don't get too personal.
2. In da Club
Groups are a vital part of Facebook's social approach, allowing users to share thoughts and links relating to a particular subject. Depending on what you're looking to do, there are options to learn more about your chosen industry, and even opportunities to solicit real world advice from those who have been there, done that and are now wearing the t-shirt to work.
Another tactic is to see who is most active in these groups. Who is always contributing to the conversation? These are the people it might be worth contacting. Be polite and honest in your approach (we've all seen Catfish), and more often than not they'll spare you a few minutes to respond to a private message. People are often willing to help so it's worth flagging yourself up - and you never know, someone might be hiring!
3. Don't be afraid to add
Finding people on Facebook is easy - if they are open to being found. So don't be afraid to break the ice and make a friend request. Facebook is a social platform, after all, and you never know what opportunities can turn up.
We speak from experience! For one of our writers, adding an Editor of an online magazine on Facebook and asking for advice led to an internship, which led to a few other internships, and the rest - as they say - is history.
4. Learn more about companies
Facebook has grown beyond a personal networking site, and expanded to harness businesses. Much like Twitter, almost every business has a Facebook page to enhance brand awareness and interact with customers.
What makes this so brilliant? These pages offer a consistent overview of a company's brand and identity all wrapped up in one place. But don't just give them a "Like" and move on - look through everything they post and really think about what it tells you about them as a company. This is all information you can use to impress.
5. Keep it PG
When you're on the stalk, sneaking around to see where employers went on holiday this year, it pays to remember that they are able to do the same. Humans are naturally nosey, and Facebook stalking is a perfect example. When curious employers search you on Facebook, you want the story your page tells to represent your own personal brand.
Try reviewing your Facebook profile as an employer would see it. Some people opt to scrub their Facebook presence so they cannot be found, but this seems a little much - and who doesn't have Facebook? A careful prune can set you on your way to acceptability and even likeability. People don't want to work with bores, so showing some character is good - just make sure it's the right kind.
There are many tricks and tips to help you tailor your Facebook page and keep it secure - for more details, check out our post on keeping your feed appropriate.
6. Best avoided: Adverts and Statuses
You may find some people advising two very different and quirky approaches to graduate job hunting, which we think are best ignored:
A) The "gizza job" status – Posting statuses about how you are a multitalented graduate with bags of enthusiasm might be well intentioned. But unless you're Facebook friends with hiring managers from your particular industry or a raft of recruiters, you'd be better off telling people on the bus.
B) Posting an Advert – the ultimate novelty approach to job hunting. Facebook allows users to post adverts (at no small cost). While you occasionally hear about a graduate who got a job by posting an advert on a bus, we cannot in good conscience advise this approach. It is highly unlikely to work, and who's got the cash to splash around on a hope and a prayer?
7. Bonus Tip - Like graduate-jobs.com on Facebook!
Use the resources available to you - and we are a great one! We regularly post jobs, news and more to help you with your graduate job hunt, so like us on Facebook to be the first to hear about new opportunities to find the perfect job.