Hey there, college students! What have you been doing to help your future self be successful? Just know this is not a trick question that you should be scared to answer. Here is something you can do for your future prospects: Start using social media to network while you’re still in college. Much of your time is spent there, so why not use it to make something for yourself?
As a student, you need to pay attention to your grades, be involved in school activities and, oftentimes, work as an intern to get experience. A typical week for a college student might entail something like assignments due on Monday; no class on Tuesdays; a class on Wednesday; a late class on Thursday; and nothing on Friday. And for most students, Friday night is when they go out and have fun. Now between all their school obligations, students must learn to manage their time and network while they still have the chance.
Networking while attending school is vital because it allows a student to get a head start. Social media is a great way to network, but many students are not aware of that. Most students are caught up in making sure they are making good grades and forget that networking plays a huge part in landing their first job after college. You should not wait until you graduate to start networking.
5 Ways You Can Use Social Media To Network
If you’re a college student reading this and you feel like you’re behind, just know you’re not. Networking is something you can start anytime. You can take a few hours out of your day to get something going and build it up over time. Keeping in mind your responsibilities and what you have on your plate, you can figure out what works for you.
You are a student; you have assignments that are due, and you either have a job or you work as an intern. Oh, and on top of everything, you have friends and a significant other. It can be stressful trying to balance all that, but you do it and you don’t know how you do it. So how can you add a new task to your busy schedule? Well, either do it first thing in the morning or in your free time when you are using social media anyway. For instance, websites like Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are great platforms for students to expand their connections.
According to The University of the People, “Networking is about building relationships, and it’s much better to do it when you stay focused on a channel or two. This increases your visibility in a busy crowd and allows your username to pop up in front of the right people at the right time.”
1. Clean up your social media.
Make sure you clean up your social accounts because you must look professional. Sharing a picture of yourself in the best light shows that you are a person of value and respect.
2. Use a professional picture for your profile
Yes, this is a must because your profile picture will be the first impression you make on whoever visits your page, and you want to look your best. Of course, many college students might not have professional pictures, so they might not have one to use. In this case, it’s important to obtain one, either from a friend or a professional photographer. The picture you use is important and there is a good chance that you will use it on the other social accounts you use to network.
3. Make sure that the bio on your Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are all the same
Take the time to create a nice bio that helps future employers get to know you. When working on your bio, use keywords such as your job titles and the skills you have. Also, add your hobbies and include hashtags that are used in your field of study. You may have to do some research to know what potential employers might look for.
4. Use hashtags to find people in your career field
The fourth step requires you to use hashtags related to your field of study to connect with people. The people you want to talk to are likely to be people already working in the field and can give you advice on what to do. Here is how you do it: Find a person you want to connect with and look at their past and current projects. Gauge if they enjoy their job. Based on the answer, you will know how to speak to them.
An example would be: “Hello, I love your account or the work you have done. My name is *name.* I’m a college student studying *major* and I’m looking to connect with people in my field. I notice you do this for a living. How do you like it? And what advice would you give to someone that is about to graduate and looking for work?”
You have to send a message to more than one person because sometimes you might not ever hear from them. It’s not something to take personally; just understand that they are busy people. If they answer, communicate respectfully and remember to thank them for taking the time to respond to you.
5. Learn how to use Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to network.
Learn to use hashtags to connect with people in your desired field via the search engine. When you use the hashtag related to your industry, Instagram will show the nine most-liked pictures. It will help you better understand who the prominent people are in the industry and what they are doing on the platform.
Use Twitter like you would use Instagram to have a conversation with people in the industry. Engage with their posts and learn about their day-to-day work life.
LinkedIn is all about being professional because there are experts and people on different levels in their careers here. The website allows people to share their work and ideas. It also allows for users to job search and for companies to search for people they would be interested in employing.
According to The University of the People, “The more you get involved in discussions, the quicker you will establish a name for yourself. In turn, this increases the likelihood that your connection requests will be accepted, even if you’re still really new.”