(BPT) – Whether you’re just graduating and entering the job market for the first time or you’re changing careers, job searching is never easy. And if you’re among the more than 1.5 million college grads looking for work this year, you will need to work smarter to stand above the crowd and land that dream job or internship. In today’s high-tech society, many potential employers are turning to social media to learn more about you.
“Before you even walk through the door for your first interview, it is highly likely the person waiting on the other side has seen more than just your resume,” says Lauren Berger, CEO of InternQueen.com. “The way you present yourself online speaks volumes to hiring managers about your tech savvy and comfort level with social media – both critical skills demanded by virtually every employer.”
With technology playing an established role in our lives and social networks easily accessible to potential employers, establishing a strong “digital footprint” and personal brand is crucial to success. So how can you use technology to land that first job and make the best first impression?
Here are some top tech tools and social media tips for landing your dream job:
* Get organized. While it may seem like a minor detail, one of the first things you should do is get a professional email address. The college email or cutesy address you created back in high school won’t impress a job recruiter. Outlook.com is free and easy to use, allowing you to quickly get organized so you never miss an important message from a potential employer. With tools like Sweep to help you filter and sort emails, you no longer need to worry about daily deals or newsletters junking up your main inbox. Windows 8 also lets you pin your favorite career websites to your Start screen, with live tiles that show your latest emails and appointments in real time and other apps to help you stay connected to your networks.
* Leverage your networks and set informational interviews. Make a target list of employers you’d like to work for and do some research about them using sites like LinkedIn, identifying one executive from each company that you’d like to meet. Try to find alumni from your school or other acquaintances who work there. Reach out to them, explain that you’ve just graduated, and ask if they will take five minutes to sit down and tell you how they got started and give you some advice.
* Put your best “digital foot” forward. You have one chance to make a first impression – make sure it’s a good one. This means not only dressing professionally, but using your style (both online and off) to demonstrate your personal interests. Building your personal brand and establishing relationships within the industry will help open doors to opportunities you may not have discovered otherwise. Make sure that your online presence is up-to-date and also reflects your best attributes. This includes maintaining consistent resume and work experience information across your networks, to build familiarity among possible recruiters.
* Lead with your strengths. Ask your friends and previous employers what your strengths are, and use specific examples during your interview to highlight them. You can also use this opportunity to demonstrate your experience with technology. If you are consistently told how well-organized you are, share a previous work experience that demonstrates how you used technology and what value this brings to the employer. Consider upgrading to a new Windows 8 PC and bringing it to the interview to show off your portfolio of work. This instantly demonstrates you’re on the cutting edge of new technology – a value for any employer.
With the influx of graduates in the job market this year, these seemingly simple tips can help you stand out from the crowd and boost your chances of finding that great job. Visit the Windows Blog for more information and helpful tech tips.