As student journalists master the different ways social media can be used to report news and strengthen a publication, tools such as Twitter, Facebook and personal blogging can play an important role in nabbing a job or internship.
Think of it this way — it’s a bit more complicated than just sending out a resume and hard-copy portfolio.
New media guru David Spinks says college journalists on a job search must develop a social media strategy to help separate themselves from droves of others on the prowl for a particular position. Spinks serves as the community manager for Scribnia.com, an online platform for both bloggers and readers, as well as the co-moderator of young professionals Twitter chat #u30pro.
“Social media provides a huge opportunity, ” Spinks said. “It provides an opportunity to build those connections that you wouldn’t have otherwise.”
A personal blog or portfolio site is a must-have for any aspiring journalist entering the job market. (Check out 10000words.net’s list of outstanding journalist portfolios).
“A blog has many values — you can write about anything, but it’s all about how you engage and connect with readers,” Spinks said. “It allows you to establish yourself and tell people about who your are.”
“It’s the differentiator between you and everyone else,” Spinks added.
Blogging frequently and with specific headlines to enhance search engine optimization is one key to attracting readers, but be sure to ask for reader feedback and to enable commenting on the site to create a dialogue.
A personal blog or portfolio site can serve as the corner stone to the online image that new journalists must shape, said Spinks.
“It’s really important that you shape a that image of yourself — that image that comes up when people seek you online,” Spinks said. “It’s up to you personally how you present yourself. Part of blogging and social networking is showing more of your personality and being more transparent. But then there’s the saying that you shouldn’t have anything online that you wouldn’t show your mother.”
Spinks advises that job seekers not to overlook the networking aspect of social networking, using sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to build relationships.
“You should purposely seek out those relationships,” Spinks said. “When I was out looking for a job after college I would seek out the people who worked for the company through social networking before I applied, before I sent out my paper resume and cover letter.”