Contributed to by: Joey Ashkin, Research Analyst and Consultant with the Brandon Hall Group.  Ashkin is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a recent addition to the millennial workforce, Joey brings a unique perspective as a rising young professional.

With over 845 million active monthly users on Facebook, 150 million members on LinkedIn and over 140 million active users on Twitter, the social media universe is undoubtedly well established and expanding with the younger generations leading the way. The millennial generation understands the value of these resources and the importance of creating an online identity and leveraging the sites’ abilities for finding jobs. However, using social media as a business tool is not something that many universities and colleges teach. My expertise comes from years of practice: managing my own personal Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts while reading, posting, sharing, and linking online media with friends and family. Like most people of my generation, I do not receive the news on my doorstep every morning. Rather, I “log on” before getting caught up on the world’s news. In the same way, young people aren’t looking for jobs through Internet job boards anymore. Whether that be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google +, social media outlets enable newcomers to the workforce to quickly spread information about themselves and connect with a vast amount of people.

When talking with other recent college graduates about the job search, the one tool that really stands out is LinkedIn. One of the best features of LinkedIn is the ability to apply for jobs directly on the site or a quick one click navigation to the company’s HR portal. Saving a resume and cover letters on your account makes applying for multiple jobs an intuitive process. LinkedIn makes it easy to find jobs that you are interested in with a recommendations tab, postings from connections on the newsfeed and updates from groups/associations. While LinkedIn does not include all of the personalization options like other online sites, it has the appropriate links to cover all of the bases. You can link your account to your personal website, company site, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. I think of it as a combination of only the best features from the other social media tools.

The two sites that my peers are most familiar with are Facebook and Twitter. Both are great resources for constructing an online identity and keeping up with areas of interest. I have been using Facebook since 2006 and always look forward to new features. Facebook’s direction as a resource for businesses and professionals is both innovative and exciting for the millennial generation because of our extensive background using the site. Companies understand the benefits of social media marketing more than ever and track the frequency of likes and shares on their page. They are constantly pushing out updates, press releases, and job openings. This makes it easy for candidates looking for a job to find everything they need to know about a company in one location. Sharing a blog on Facebook is simple with the notes tool. You can tag multiple people, organize your work under the “My Notes” section and keep track of your interests on the “Pages’ Notes” section.

Twitter is an excellent tool for connecting with other people with the same interests, share your ideas and learn from industry experts. Twellow is an increasingly popular tool linked to Twitter that narrows down search options by searching users’ bios and URLs. This is particularly helpful when looking for employees in a specific company that you would like to know better. Twitter allows users to stay in the loop and build their own online reputation in the social media realm.

I was once told that there are four essentials: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a blog. All of these help build an online identity and allow prospective employers to learn more about a job candidate than from reviewing a candidate’s resume and cover letter. As a newcomer to the post-graduate world, using each of these resources has been instrumental with connecting to others with similar interests and seeking potential career opportunities.

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