Guest Post Intro: Lauren Sandelin is a senior at Miami University (Ohio), where she currently serves as the PR Director for the university’s PRSSA chapter.  She will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.  Connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and visit her blog. If you have any opportunities feel free to assist on that end too!

How Social Media Saved My Job Search.

I’m sure you wouldn’t be shocked to hear me say that the job-hunt hasn’t been too easy.  We’ve all been there at least once, and many of us are there right now.  You don’t need me to tell you that today’s economy isn’t exactly conducive to the whole process.

My job search began far before I was technically ready.  I was so excited for the future I had imagined in my head that I started searching last August (yep, that’s right).  I obviously had no intention of applying for any of those jobs at the time, but it’s fair to say that I was ready to get the ball rolling.  When January came, it was finally time to start applying to those jobs.

Wait, what jobs?

social media bandwagon Perspectives: Graduating College Senior   Lauren SandelinAll the jobs I had been hoping to apply for were long gone.  Expected?  Of course…but that doesn’t mean I was okay with it.  It’d be fair to say that January was a wash, and February came around soon enough.  Sure, I found a few openings here and there – but I’m sure you wouldn’t be too surprised to hear that most listings used the dreaded, “send your resume into this black hole and chances are slim you’ll actually hear back from us” application process.  Oh yes – you know exactly what I’m talking about.

February ended soon enough and I was still without even a glimmer of hope.  So what’s a girl to do?  Well, I could sit around and mope.  You know, feel sorry for myself, throw pity parties with a whopping guest list of one, and become frustrated with the whole process.  That almost seems productive, right?  Okay…so maybe not.

It didn’t take long for me to throw that idea into the wind and take a good hard look at my approach.  There comes a point when you have to reflect on things and say, “Okay, kiddo…this isn’t working.  What’s next?”

So what was next?  I mean, wasn’t everyone using the same blind approach I was?  What other options were there?

Then I came across this little thing most refer to as “social media.”  Yeah…I know what that is.  Facebook?  Sure, I’ve had an account on there since my senior year of high school.  Whoop-dee-do.  I have a LinkedIn account, but I don’t have a clue what to do with that.  Twitter?  How in the world would telling people what I do every second of the day help me land a job?  C’mon, brain…give me some real ideas here.

It didn’t take long for me to discover the real beauty of social media.  Actually, what I really discovered was the beauty of networking.  As it turns out, social media is just another doorway to networking and connecting.  This doorway, though, opens up into a big ol’ world where (believe it or not) people are not just willing to help, but want to.  When used effectively, you’d be amazed at the results.  I’ve never been concerned about my ability to do a job and convince others that I’m capable, but it’s all a process and step one is getting noticed.  Shortly after, of course, comes the interview.  Unfortunately, getting noticed and getting that interview are always the toughest parts – but networking makes it that much easier.

fingers Perspectives: Graduating College Senior   Lauren SandelinThere certainly isn’t a lack of posts and articles about the benefits of using social media in your job search, so I’m not setting out to explain exactly how or why.  Instead, I just want to serve as living proof that this does work.  Obviously, I’m not condoning that Twitter (or LinkedIn, Facebook, whatever your preference) serve as your only means of networking and job-hunting, but I’d highly recommend you at least add it to your arsenal.

Now hold on just a second – I’m not sitting here with a smug, accomplished grin on my face saying that this just suddenly fixed all my problems.  I still have yet to land a job and we’re now less than a month away from graduation (not that I’m keeping track or anything).  Anyone who knows me could attest to the fact that I started off my senior year bound-and-determined to have a job offer before May.

Truth be told, I’m far from any job offers at this point…but hey, at least I’m finally getting e-mails and phone calls – a definite improvement from where I was just a month ago.  I’ve already gained so much insight on not just the job search process, but also on my chosen career field.  I’ve had the chance to speak with industry professionals, HR geniuses, you name it.  That “black hole” has gotten ten times smaller and this entire process suddenly seems “doable” again.

Feeling ready to give up and call it quits?

Freshen up your approach.  If what you’re doing now isn’t getting the results you want, then what do you really have to lose by trying something else?  Get in there.  Connect with others – ask questions, seek help, don’t be afraid to admit that what you’ve been doing just isn’t working.

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