Posted December 5, 2011 9:04 am by with 8 comments

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The following post comes from our Social Media Channel sponsor, Full Sail University. Visit them to learn more about their programs in Internet marketing, web design and development and many more. We appreciate our sponsors so please visit them to learn about how they may be able to help you.

As an educator I’m always on the lookout for things that will help my students be successful. I think it’s vital that they develop a strong social media presence, given that they’re pursuing Internet Marketing degrees, though I believe the same also holds true for students in other disciplines.

Why All The Fuss About Social Media?

Obviously, the easiest way for graduates who want to become Social Media Managers to prove their abilities is through their own social networks. But beyond even that obvious example, employers are increasingly relying on social media as an integral part of the hiring process – both in finding potential new employees and evaluating their suitability for the job.

Employers are using sites like Marketing Pilgrim to find potential candidates, and they’re also using social channels like the Facebook Marketplace and the specialized recruiting tools on LinkedIn.

Once potential employees are identified, companies can use social media to learn more about the candidates, highly valuable information that was difficult to obtain pre-social media. In fact, Career Builder says that 80% of potential employers will do an online search using a candidate’s name to find information. And what they’re finding apparently isn’t always positive; 43% of employers say they have rejected a candidate based on something they found online.

Marketing Pilgrim’s Social Channel is proudly sponsored by Full Sail University, where you can earn your Masters of Science Degree in Internet Marketing in less than 2 years. Visit for more information.

Starting Tips for Using Social Media as a Student

Students sometimes think they don’t need to be ‘in’ social networks as professionals because they haven’t yet begun their career. In fact, it’s advisable even for those just starting their educational journey to start social profiles as a way to begin building their online reputation – and as a learning tool.

Here are my basic suggestions to students:

  • Set up a LinkedIn account. Because LinkedIn is generally considered to be more professional than other social sites, it’s a good place to begin establishing connections with others in your industry, as shown in this overview of using LinkedIn as a student. (Bonus tip for students – use the Reading List by Amazon to share books you’re currently reading for your classes.)
  • Most students have a Facebook account, and many have set the privacy settings to prevent anyone other than friends from seeing posts, which is good. However, since potential employers may be searching for profiles, a better strategy is to learn to control individual pieces of content. This way, you can share more personal information with those closest to you, but still have something for a recruiter to see.
  • Twitter is a great place to build connections with (and learn from) industry leaders. It is also perhaps the easiest place to learn by example what people find important.

Obviously, having the profiles is just a start. You must actively participate to build up a base of content from which potential employers can begin to learn about you. However, there are a few important factors to consider first:

  • Start with a strategy. How do you want to be perceived? Do you want to share some work-appropriate personal information (aka be ‘profersonal’ per Jason Seiden) or be only professional? Your online reputation is what others think of you. It will be built, at least in part, by what you’re sharing and promoting online.
  • Follow the leaders. The best way to learn how leaders in your field share on social media is to connect with them and watch. See what they post, share and promote, and try to understand why.
  • Be consistent. A strong personal brand establishes you as a credible professional. Creating a strong brand requires that you be fairly consistent across different platforms so that it’s easy for people to identify you.
  • Don’t be a stalker – for long. It’s perfectly fine to take some time to establish the ground rules of different social networks, but at some point you must actually contribute to make it work for you.

My final word of advice to students is simply this: Learn to use social media effectively to further your ability to reach your goals.

About the author

Rob Croll is Department Chair for the Internet Marketing Bachelor’s degree program at Full Sail University, and the Course Director for Search Engine Optimization there. He also owns Marlannah Digital Marketing, a consulting firm that works with small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Rob was named one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter and has had numerous articles published both online and in print on a variety of Internet marketing topics. You can follow Rob on Twitter @rcroll.


  • For so long students were warned of the dangers of being involved in social media when conducting a job search. Sure, it can be dangerous if you are sharing inappropriate information publicly. If you are actively engaged in social media for the right reasons- networking and sharing good content- it can work in your favor, especially if you are looking for an internet marketing position.

    • As the old saying goes, ‘its not so much what you know, but who you know’ and social networks make who you know a lot easier. Additional tip: If you are going for an interview, follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social media page they have. It will help you stand out just that much more.

      • Rob Croll

        “Social networks make who you know a lot easier.” Well put, Joe! Great tips too, about following the company prior to an interview; it can really give you a feel for the brand’s personality (assuming they’re doing it right, of course).

  • I couldn’t agree more with this article. Every university should have a class teaching these exact concepts. Social media definitely adds a new way to meet potential employers. They will be very impressed by people who use social media professionally and effectively.

    • With the fast-moving advancement in the net and its offspring user presence, Facebook has become above all others means of sharing information directly with customers. Among the most well known activities on the Internet is the consuming usage of social networking sites.With its easy features and wide range of useful functions, Facebook known as the best social networking site.

  • Heather Tirberger

    This was a great article. It diffidently makes sense that if you are planning to enter into a career that utilizes social media, you also establish an effective presents on your own. Not only does this show a potential employer that you are serious/enjoy social media presents but it also makes you stand out in a good way.

  • Great Aricle Rob. There are tons of ways to build your web presence, one way that works great is getting involved in topics or conversations on Blogs or Groups on Linked In

    Speaking of Linked In I found a great tool that ties directly into Linked In pulling your resume/ highlights as well as recommendations showing a visual to a potential employer it’s called A great incentive to get your Linked In account in order.

  • Neil Licht, VP

    I’d like to see schools offering a “social media reputation insurance” service that monitors a students online activity 24/7, manages it, protects and repairs facebook and other “innocent” student posts/photos. It could be a way that a school can help position their seniors and grad students to be internet search safe when employers or grad schools check them out online.

    AS a reputation management company, we at Reputation911 are seeing potential employers and grad schools routinely checking applicants online as part of their research on an applicant. This is even true of Colleges looking at student applications.

    Offering this type of “reputation insurance” is not a fortune but it can make the difference between getting a job or even an interview or gaining acceptance to grad school.

    Neil Licht,