Guest Post: Internships and Your Social Media Presence
Since the time social media began pervading American culture, there has been a growing debate among human resources and recruitment professionals about the role of social media in the recruitment and hiring process. This debate has mainly focused on the use of social media in eliciting information about candidates, so as to reveal potential character flaws or cultural misalignments that would otherwise be missed in an interview. Although this is an important debate to be aware of, for you as an internship candidate, you should consider taking the opposite tack. Given the current economic challenges we are facing, differentiation is key to beating out other highly qualified candidates. One way to differentiate is to leverage your social media savvy and reach as an asset in the interview process.
Your on-line presence is a representation of you. Essentially, it’s your brand. Before interviewing for an internship position, be sure to assess how your social media presence supports the mission of the hiring company as well as how it speaks to their audience.
Support the Mission: Before you consider bringing your social media presence to the table, you have to examine how your social media content and on-line brand align with the mission of the hiring company. The ability to articulate the synergies between your social media presence and the focus of the company demonstrates your willingness to add value. Companies today are looking for every advantage they can find, so show them you have one worth taking a look at.
Speak to their Audience: When examining your social media reach, it’s important that you identify the nature of your audience and where the potential overlaps are with the company’s customer base. You have to ask yourself: Is this an audience that the company values. It’s also helpful to quantify your reach. Smart business folks like numbers. At the end of the day, that’s how they make their decisions. Be ready to paint them a picture of your demographic and give them numbers
My point is simple, when looking for ways to differentiate in the crowded field of internship candidates, keep your social media presence in mind. Some of the hottest internship and career opportunities out there right now are in social media, so be mindful of your social media presence and be sure to leverage your on-line brand.
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.