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Most people think of the social media tubes as being a place for connecting between people. And, for most people using it authentically, it is–organizations are often so self-promoting as to be unfollowable on social networks. However, if you are a college student or soon-to-be graduate looking for work, those self-promotey social media accounts can help you big time. Though we can’t guarantee you a job, we can at least show you how to get a heads up about a job opening in the mid-sized company of your dreams using social media.

Look for real people accounts: The reason some social media accounts are so desperately self-promotional is that they’re really just RSS feeds being spit out into the ether. Don’t follow those accounts–there’s likely not anyone checking them regularly, and they’re a sign that that company isn’t investing that much effort into social media. Accounts which are managed by an actual human (look for them interacting with other people, adding funny commentary, and linking to other peoples’ content) are going to be your in. It’s probably a single person managing the account, and they likely don’t get a whole ton of people responding to them, so they’ll be likely to listen to you.

Give them links: Send the feed manager links that you think they might like. If they use them, you’ll get credit (and more exposure), and even if they don’t they’ll remember you for being tuned-in and interesting. When you have something to contribute, comment or @ reply whatever they’re sending out. Bonus points if you’re funny. You want to establish yourself as interested in what the company’s interested in and tuned in to the industry.

Let them know you’re looking: Once you’ve established something of a relationship with the person managing the account by contributing, let them know that you’re interested in working for their company. Do this via a private method if you can (DM or email). Make sure they know you’re looking for a job, what your skills are, and the fact that you like their company. 

Be on your best behavior: This goes without saying, of course, because HackCollege readers are clever, but while you’re doing your best job-flirting, don’t post about booze and law-breaking. Don’t curse more than is appropriate for the company, and don’t complain unless it’s funny. Try to look cheerful, useful, and competent.