Career Tips

Young Alumni Job Search Part III: Social Media

By Dave Isbell and Kim Medlock

“Whatever you post online is who you become to others”

Your brand, or “meta-message,” is the overall impression you send out in conjunction with your resume and professional materials, website, social networking, and personality. Branding yourself is a fantastic way to put your best face consistently forward and market yourself toward potential employers.

I highly recommend perusing for advice and tips on building and improving your personal brand.

Clear, helpful post on branding yourself online:

Obviously, the idea here is to be strategic about sharing content that builds your “brand.” When people stumble across the types of things you are sharing online, they should be able to clearly understand what you are a subject matter expert in, what you are passionate about, and what it is that you can do!

However, it is important to remember that social media is two things: it is a way to push your message out to the public, but it is also a way to pull people into a dialogue. You should be adding value to the virtual conversations that are happening in every social media outlet you are using! More importantly, you should be building relationships with people who care about the same things that you do through the use of these tools.

If you are not willing to spend time getting to know the people you are interacting with online, moving the conversations offline with some of them (by sharing a cup of coffee, engaging in work together, etc.) and then back again, then don’t bother to use the tools in the first place. People are bombarded with marketing and sales pitches. The last thing they need is another inauthentic person trying to get something from them! Yet, when you are authentic, genuiunely care about others, and provide something of value that people need and you work to convey that in your tweets, posts, etc. then your network will grow, and your potential to create a new opportunity will grow along with it. This is why social media is so powerful!

In short, social media gives you a platform to share your message and brings you access to people you may not have been able to meet otherwise. This is terrific for starting or mainting friendships and that is extremely important. However, if you treat these tools as if you are a business serving customers, and you treat your customers as good as you treat your friends, then you face the potential of creating opportunities that may have been previously hidden from you!

For help with using social media networks, check out the following sites (our advice is to be on every site you can, but pick one and get really good at it before you branch out to another one):

User Guides

Next week: The basics of a resume and cover letter.


Dave Isbell is the Alumni Career Service Coordinator at Michigan State University. He has been a Career Coach since 1999. He is also pursuing a Master’s in Social Work/Family Studies at MSU.  When he is not working or studying, he is enjoying domestic bliss with his wife and kids, or playing rock music on his bass guitar. You can find him on Twitter (@helpingspartans) and sometimes he writes about compassion, collaboration, and career for this blog, which he owns and begs other Spartans to write for.

Kim Medlock is a Michigan State University alumnae with degrees in Professional Writing and English. She works as a marketing writer by day, but fancies herself a creative writer by weekend. As a Lansing native who has always preferred writing as an artistic medium — she remains passionately in love with both of these things.


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