Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Candace Webb, a social media practitioner who explores how social media impacts college students at DegreeJungle.com.

Social media connects persons from every part of the world including underclassmen in today’s universities. It is an interest tool; when used effectively, college students can become leaders in their industries before finishing college. You can benefit by using social media to develop a digital portfolio, design your own influence, and reach decision-makers who are leaders in their industries.

Develop a Digital Portfolio

A digital portfolio is a necessity in your job search efforts. You can add a few links from your social pages on Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook for prospective employers. If you choose to use social media for a job search, you can create a marketing strategy based on the information you want prospective employers to know.

Digital portfolios show off your communication skills, creativity with technology and online influence to your friends, colleagues and/or big brands that follow you. You will be surprised to know how many companies find talent by viewing a social page. Are you ready to take your social connections to the next level?

Consider the following questions when designing your pages:

1. Who is my target audience?

2. What do I want to share with this group?

3. How can I make my social pages a hot spot for learning and value?

4. When will I post information to my social sites?

5. How will my digital portfolio land me a dream job?

Answer each question thoroughly. Your future can be shaped by the information you place online; if you use your social pages for creating a name (or brand) for yourself, you can get a job doing the same techniques for a large company. A well-planned and executed social media marketing strategy can increase your chances of getting a job with a good company.

College recruiters surf profiles on a consistent basis, you can make your profile stand out if you plan your content strategy. Provide insight, helpful tips and actionable guides to show how familiar and experienced you are; soon, you will have influence and companies will want to meet you.

Design Your Own Influence

Do you want companies like Nike, Apple, or Dell following your Twitter page? Well, you have to design your own influence by placing emphasis on your expertise. An example of this would be a computer programmer duplicating or developing mobile apps for smartphones. Another example of this would be a graphic designer that designs and sells marketing collateral to local small businesses in their area.

Are you good with Photoshop or design layouts? You can design business cards, magazine covers, or flyers for small businesses in your local area, but post samples on your LinkedIn page for a printing company to find you. Influence your prospective industry now, so companies will start asking you questions about how you can help them achieve their goals.

Reach Decision-Makers

Decision makers are on all of the top social media networks. When you design your influence and pages, you are placing your name in digital stack of competitors. As a college student, you are still young and capable of using creativity to leverage job interviews online.

You can use your digital portfolio as proof that you can do what you claim in your resume. Make prospective employers see you as a leader before you graduate; social media can help you establish a name for yourself without leaving your dorm room.

Want to learn more? Check out:

Candice Webb is a leading social media practicitioner with 10 years of experience in human resource management. She explores social media impacts on colleges students for DegreeJungle.com.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://matejtomic.com/ Matej Tomic

    I absolutely agree, Candice. There
    is a lot of talk about social networking and how valuable it can be, but I
    think that many students don’t understand the actual mechanisms. The majority
    of current students publish mini-bios about themselves on LinkedIn discussion boards
    or similar platforms, hoping to get responses from interesting employers. However,
    I suppose that social networking means being more proactive. It’s like in real
    life: if one listens carefully to people AND has something interesting to say, he
    or she is more likely to succeed in meeting potential employers that might help
    out. It’s more than just dropping a line on some website and then wait.

  • http://www.esalesdata.com/email-list/healthcare-executives-email-list.php Health Care Lists

    Social media is a real platform where every one meets including professionalism to general members. To sort out things ans decisions helps students to mingle. 

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  • http://justbeingseriouslysocial.com/ Soumyaranjan Dash

    At least, students can build their digital portfolios using Twitter’s photo sharing facility.

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  • http://twitter.com/allenzcw Allen Zhang

    Thanks for posting, I really interested in social media, and I agree with what you mentioned in this post.Especially the question we need to concern about when we designing the page, “Who is my target audience?” “What do I want to share with this group?” ”How can I make my social pages a hot spot for learning and value?” “When will I post information to my social sites?” “How will my disital portfolio land me a dream job?” 

    I’m recently got a job, responsble to manage the social media sites for my boss, and I had no experience before, so all the questions you mentioned just exactly like what was thinking about. After I have gone through the questions,and got it figured out, it still not done yet. 

    Building the social media sites for business we also need to concern about how to connect with the audience or clients. What’s the better to utilize the strategies to reach as many audience as we could? How to contact and keep up with them through social media?

    Currently, I’m taking communication ethics class, I have been learning “Ethical Challenges in Small Group Communication,” I think we could apply small group theory in the social media strategy. In the textbook THE HANDBOOK OF COMMUNICATION ETHICS chapter 10 says “Small groups prove the most important of these social contexts because it is in the group that we experience a ‘small-scale society’,”

    Personally, I’m a little scare in a group siuation, because I’m just a quite person. However, what about create a small society on your social media sites. For instance, create a small group conversation on Facebook, like the colleagues in the office, maybe something you don’t feel comfortable to say face to face, that’s why we need to start the social media group. We could use the same way on the clients, because through the group the old customers would tell the experience to the new ones, in the chapter says “New members influence the group just as the group affects new members.” 

     
    Of course as the creator, we need to brainstorm how to lead to start the group dissicution, make sure everybody stick on the right track and making progress   

  • http://www.bobblesandbaubles.wordpress.com/ Celeste

    Thanks for posting about how students can use social media
    to brand themselves and land jobs.  I’m
    always trying to figure out how to better use social media.  I see a lot of companies, celebrities, and
    individuals doing nothing more than creating noise on news feeds, and after I
    graduate (I’m a graduate student in PR) I want to make sure that I’m not one of
    those people creating noise.  I think
    that too many people are primarily concerned with volume on social media (like
    requiring a certain number of tweets a day), when they should be more concerned
    with quality.  I think that students need
    to pay attention to this as they work on branding themselves.  I think it figures in to the fourth question,
    ‘when will I post information to my social sites.’  One or two posts during peak times (such as
    the ‘after work’ time frame) can carry more weight than a dozen posts
    throughout the day. 
     

  • Kevin

    Thank you for sharing the idea and the
    tips. I definitely agree with your point. Social media has too much potential
    that companies and organizations have to take the influence on social media as
    an important evaluation of employees. Among all the consideration of designing
    a personal social page, I think targeting the audience is most essential. Thorough
    understanding of the specific group and their needs could form the content that
    easily interests and catches their eye. My roommate is a graduate student in
    visual design major, and he Facebook page is constructed with delicate use of
    color, spacing and well-taken photographs. I always think that if I were an
    employer, I would definitely offer him a position based on what he can do with
    both his professional art ability and his potential of influence on social
    media. It’s all about who I choose as my targeted audience. As a PR student who
    tries to promote the non-profit organization, I think I need to design my
    social page showing both my passion and ability of successfully reaching the
    people who could be the potential clients for the organization.

  • Wordofmouse12

    We are a group of international students in Sweden, currently working on a project involving writing a blog in groups of four. This project proved to be a good way to encourage the use social media in academic environment. We hope that as students we can build our personal brands and develop new business contacts. Please visit our blog http://bywordofmouse.tumblr.com/ and tell us what you think!

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