We’ve all heard it time and time again; online presence is everything. In high school, I can’t even count the number of times I was threatened with the ol’ “don’t put embarrassing things on Facebook, you won’t get accepted to college!” spiel. Well, four years later in college, I’m getting the same talk from my parents, my professors, and our campus career center: “don’t post embarrassing things on social media (because now that we’re older the world has created about five billion other sites besides Facebook), you won’t get a job!” In fact, it’s proven that 70% of employers surveyed said that they have rejected a candidate because of what they have posted online.
Well, unlike a lot of things our parents like to throw at us, this one is true. However, I think it’s just as important to focus on what we should be posting, rather than just what we shouldn’t. 70% of employers may have turned someone down based off of a negative post, but a positive online presence also influences the hiring decision of over 85% of hiring managers. See what I’m saying?
Show off your skills.
You can add so much value to a company, employers just need to see it. Every time you log on to LinkedIn, I guarantee you get asked to endorse your connections. These endorsements, while they may seem meaningless, can help in a huge way (if you use them effectively). Essentially, they are one of the first things that a recruiter will see when clicking on your profile. You want to make sure that your connections are endorsing you for your hard work, but also that they are not empty endorsements and skills being listed.
Some of the most popular endorsements on LinkedIn include blogging, content management, data analytics, editing, management, media planning, social media, recruiting, and WordPress. Do these sound familiar? I hope so. As a member of Spoon and a foodie, I know I use these on a daily basis. If your colleagues are endorsing you for these skills, go ahead and ask them for a testimonial. It’s one thing to see that you’re good at social media, but it’s another to see that you used social media to gain over 40,000 views on an article for your Spoon chapter or blog post.
If you ever get endorsed for skills that you think are irrelevant and may clutter your profile, you can always remove them. Find out how to do so here.
Always network like a (cake) boss.
What is the one thing that everyone on this Earth has in common? We need to eat to survive. As a foodie, you have been blessed with the gift of talking about food eloquently and intellectually and in a way that can both impress and intrigue anyone you come into contact with. You know restaurants to recommend in the area; you know great recipes to suggest to your future boss. You have an interest in something that everybody can connect to.
Guys, I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Gone are the days of sending out mass amounts of your resume hoping to have an employer reach out to you. Now, you need to work it. Schmooze. Talk to everyone like it’s your job. The more connections you make, the more opportunities you will have. Connect them on LinkedIn, converse with them at the career fair; do whatever you need to do to create a connection with these people because you never know what opportunities will come down the line.
Your fellow Spoonies? Connect. Your professors? Connect. That cute guy you made eye contact with during brunch at the table across from yours? Connect (okay maybe not because if you know his name already it’s super creepy, but you get my point).
Follow, follow, follow.
On LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to be a groupie. Joining groups and following industries is what makes you stand out to employers; it shows that you have an interest in something that they deal with, and the hiring manager may even share that interest with you. If you’re interested in getting a career in the food industry, you should be following pages that pertain to it. This will fill your feed with posts that have to do with current events and trends that have to do with all aspects of the industry.
If there are specific companies that you want to work for in the future (think PepsiCo, Nestle, or Kraft, for example), you should be following them. This is a great way to align your interests with your future career. Don’t be a ghost follower, either; read and interact with the posts. This will educate you on what the company is experiencing, and it will 100% impress employers when they check out your profile. Bonus points if you can talk about it during your interview, too.
Posts, publications, and projects (oh my).
If you write for Spoon University, or any other publication, for that matter, post your accomplishments! You are getting hundreds and maybe even thousands of page views, and that is something to be very proud of. Not many college students can say that their articles are being read nationally, that they are being picked up by sites such as Buzzfeed and Yahoo Food, or that they have intense amounts of experience with deadlines, pitching ideas, and sharing content.
LinkedIn allows for users to post articles, and they also give you sections on your profile to credit all of your published work as well as the projects you have been a part of. This includes events you hold and competitions (read: Munch Madness) you contribute to through your Spoon chapter, among many others. Make sure you take advantage of these. Not only will posting your articles get you more page views, but employers and connections will see that you have credibility and will add value to their organization.
#SpoonTip: Make sure that the articles you are posting are appropriate for the audience on LinkedIn. A recipe roundup or a news piece is great, but you may want to reevaluate posting anything that has to do with alcohol.
Stand out with SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is low key so important in making sure that you stand out from the crowd. Believe it or not, some employers will actually seek you out. But, they will only do so if they can find you. This is where SEO comes in; by linking key words in your profile that employers will be searching for, you will soar to the top of the list. It’s such an important concept for everyone to consider no matter what you are posting. Personally, I have learned the importance of this through my training with Spoon University; writing articles is only half of the battle. If you want recognition and page views on all of your hard work, you need to make sure that what you are putting out there is being delivered to the audience in the most effective way possible.
More than likely, if you have these key words you will show up farther in the list than your colleagues who don’t utilize them. Take a look at the job descriptions that you are interested in. See those words that keep popping up over and over? Use those.
I’m telling you; this stuff actually works. In the past few months, I have talked about Spoon in every internship interview I have had. I now have an internship. Coincidence? I think not.