I realized I was finally growing up when I developed a new obsession. Gone are the days of outrageous shopping (I used to live at Nordstrom), constant TV watching (I totally forgot about the Grey’s Anatomy season premier ), and spending my Saturday afternoons enthralled in hours of College Football (even Carolina games are trying my patience – Hakeem Nicks, we need you back). Instead, I find myself constantly tweeting, looking for connections on LinkedIn, and (you guessed it) blogging.

I confess: A year ago, I didn’t even know what Twitter was. Even a few weeks ago, I didn’t have any real interest in blogging. But as of Tuesday, I am officially captivated. My name is Amy Dobrzynski, and I am a social media addict.

It all started when Kelly Giles (former President of Blue & White) came to talk to Carolina Public Relations Student Society of America. And it probably didn’t help that I was surrounded by seniors who were all starting to freak out about getting (or not getting) jobs. But when I learned that it’s not really your impressive resume that lands you the job, I was floored.

So, humor me for a second. Open up Google. Type in your name. What kind of results show up?

I am one of the lucky ones. There is only one Amy Dobrzynski out there, and you’re looking at her. My Google results are pretty straightforward (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, my blog, various entries from The Daily Tar Heel and Blue & White, etc.). But I’m guessing most of you aren’t having the same luck. And chances are that your future employers are going to be Googling you as well.

So how do we change the lack of Google results and increase our chances of getting hired? By developing an online presence through social media.

Here are a few tips from an (albeit fairly new) social media enthusiast:

1. Facebook – keep it private. You are not going to stop your friends from posting inappropriate things on your wall, and you definitely don’t want to risk your employers seeing it. Facebook should be your social outlet, so let’s keep it that way. (Sidenote – University Career Services friended me on Facebook the other day. I didn’t even know they knew what that was.)

2. Twitter – I know we all love bashing Lindsay Lohan, but what does that say about you as a person, besides the fact that you are up-to-date on your celebrity gossip? Tweet about something interesting to you (that future employers will find interesting, too). Business major? ReTweet something from the Wall Street Journal. English enthusiast? Tweet about the great book you just read.

3. LinkedIn – You have tons of connections at your fingertips, and I bet you didn’t even know it. Have you had an internship? There’s a good chance your employers are on this networking site. I’ve even found a couple of teachers on LinkedIn. But make sure you actually know someone before you start going connection crazy. No one likes random friend requests on Facebook, and professionals definitely don’t like them on LinkedIn.

4. Blogs – This is your chance to show off your own personal style, so have some fun with this! Keep it professional, of course, but make sure you show off your creative side.

5. Stay classy – If you’re going to use pictures on any of these sites (and you should), make sure they represent you, and how classy you are. No red cups, please.

6. Start Early – I had a quarter-life crisis this summer. I turned 20 and could no longer use “but I’m a teenager!” as an excuse. Now, I’m a junior and I’m already freaking out about finding a job in this economy. Don’t wait until the last minute to get caught up on social media – you will only put more pressure on yourself!

7. Branding – Create a brand for yourself. For non-PR majors, a brand is something you use to market yourself to employers. Pick a few adjectives that describe you and then incorporate them into all of your social media outlets. Make sure you use a consistent name. Employers don’t have time to go searching around for you. If you need help with branding, UCS is having a Personal Branding seminar Sept. 29.

-Amy Dobrzynski