Hi, I’m Ruxandra, one of the #trugrads. Bill is climbing mountains in sunny Wales this week so he invited me to write this guest blog on his behalf. This is the topic I will talk through at #Tru Amsterdam.

SOCIAL MEDIA: A compulsory subject for all university degrees?

Definitely!!! I would like to start this post by picturing the usual process of a third year student searching for the job he wants upon graduation. Alex, a very good third year Law and Business student at an average UK university wants to work in Recruitment. What is he going to do? He will follow the usual process like any other third year student. Alex will seek advice for writing his CV at the career office in his university, spend long hours filling in application forms for the top 20 UK recruitment companies, he will get positive feedback from 7 or 8 of them and the final result? In the end he won’t get any job offer, or he might get one, but not the one he wanted. What are the possible reasons for this? There are a few reasons like: fierce competition as graduate recruiters prefer candidates from top universities, applying for the wrong recruitment sector, he might not have matched the needs of the company at that time, lack of experience, and I could give many other examples.

Did Alex make use of social media in any way in his job hunt? LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? He might have a profile on each of them fair enough, but does he actually know how to use them to get the job he wants? Or get noticed? Not really!

How can social media help a third year student in his job search?

First of all, social media represents the best way for students to advertise themselves and catch the attention of employers. An updated LinkedIn profile with an appropriate professional headline, accompanied by group posts, related tweets, and interesting blog topics will make an employer browse through that student’s profile, download his CV and eventually give him a call. Let’s not forget that nowadays recruiters, especially internal recruiters, use social media in a big way.

There seems to be something wrong about this entire student-graduate scheme as at the moment, students tend to apply for jobs only to well-known companies but the majority of these companies look for graduates only at top universities. I would raise two questions out of this sentence:

Are students unaware that SME’s offer jobs too?

Are companies unaware that skilled graduates can also be found in top 100 (or even 200) universities rather than top 10?

There is definitely a gap somewhere and I strongly believe that it can only be filled if students start using social media more. I would now like to give a few relevant examples.

My best friend from Romania who wants to work in social media kept applying for jobs and internships at well-known companies for the past two years. She did not have any luck, and was very disappointed. I advised her to start looking for jobs on Facebook (most popular in Romania). One month after she started her job hunt on Facebook, she is working for a medium-size estate agency providing exclusivist services. She is of course in charge of their social media, and really enjoys it.
On the other hand, a few weeks ago I refused a job due to its location. At the end, the interviewer kindly asked me if I knew someone else who could be interested in the position. In this case, how can students say that they cannot find jobs? Do they actually know where to look for them?

My last argument would be that social media can help students better define what they want from their future job. Through social media students can get in touch with experienced people who can give them valuable advice about the career they want to have. In the last weeks, after I posted in groups on LinkedIn and started to write on my blog, many nice people approached me offering their help and advice. The conversations I had with them helped me understand Recruitment better, decide what sectors I would like to work in, what type of recruitment I want to do as well as the type of company I want to work in.

Having said this, what is the best way to make students aware of the benefits of social media and teach them how to use it? Should social media be a compulsory subject in universities?