A Social-Media Toolkit for Young, Aspiring PR Professionals

“Back to School” This past January, I had the opportunity to make my way back to the classroom via a speaking engagment for an intro-to-public relations class at DePaul University. After talking with the students, I came to the realization that most of them were not fully participating in all social networks and in effect, not taking advantage of the amazing networking capabilites they could be experiencing online.

“Your Social Media Strategy” In this post, I want to focus on how the use of social media by college students has evolved and what that means for those wanting to enter the field of PR. Click here to see which social networks college students were using back in 2009. Also, check and see if students think you’re favorite social network is “cool or lame.”

“My Advice” I conducted the following survey during the intro-to-pr class I wrote about earlier in this post. There were a total of 31 students ranging from college sophomores to seniors:

As we can see above, finding a college student not on Facebook nowadays is a rare thing. However, the same cannot be said for their presence, or lack thereof, on Twitter or LinkedIn. Here are four simple steps for students and recent graduates to implement that can impress recruiters and set you above your peers as well:

  1. LinkedIn: This social network is one of the first places recruiters check once you submit your resume and you can use that to your advantage! Make it your personal goal to get that LinkedIn profile completion number to 100%. Upload a photo and seek out recommendations from former employers, professors and your peers. Review profiles of public relations professionals to learn more about their own experiences.
  2. @Twitter: Create an account if you don’t have one and upload your picture and customize your profile. Start following those who interest you, including media relations professionals that work in cities where you’re interested in starting your own career. Show the world that you have a voice and that you too can participate in the conversation on Twitter.
  3. Facebook: Privacy tools were made to be used and can be a powerful ally when you want to control who sees what. With the changes in Facebook privacy settings, keeping things personal on Facebook can seem like an overwhelming task. Check out this nifty guide to aid you in making those privacy settings work for you. Face it, recruiters and future colleagues will “Facebook” you and see what they can find.
  4. MySpace, Blogs, etc.: Cancel that old MySpace account you haven’t touched in years and seek out any other social network profiles you’ve made in the past to tie up loose ends. Don’t be afraid to try your hand at a blog post or even foursquare. If you’re interviewing at a firm that has a YouTube account, Blog or Twitter handle, make sure to check them out to better your understanding of that company.   

What advice or tips would you share with young, aspiring PR pros?

To reach Berj:

Email: berj@blisspr.com
Twitter: @SpartanBerj
LinkedIn: Berj Alexanian