How To Get a Job/Internship using Social Media: Derek DeVries

By: Kaitlyn Baase, freshman 

On November 16th, Derek DeVries came to Ferris State University to teach students how to use social media to get a job or internship.

Some background about Derek:

He graduated from Grand Valley State University with degrees in communications. He has worked for several Grand Rapids-based communications firms including J.W. Messner, Inc. and Seyferth & Associates. He currently works in the communications department at GRCC. He also serves as adjunct Communications faculty at GRCC and has taught Public Relations at GVSU as well. He also serves as secretary on the board of the West Michigan Chapter of the PRSA.

Here are some steps that Derek gave us about using social media for a job or internship:

1. Determine your strategy.

When determining your strategy, you need to ask yourself three questions:

  1. What kind of job?
  2. What kind of industry?
  3. What kind of location/culture?

Some other questions to ask yourself are: What are your interests? What kind of industry? What type of PR?

Once you answer these questions, you can move on to the next step.

 2. Get some good headshots of yourself

This could not be stressed enough. Try and find a friend whose going into photography, or find a photographer to take some great professional headshots.

3. Find your name/brand yourself

The goal of making a name for yourself is to MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO FIND YOU .One thing he said to do was go to Derek said that this website allows you to check hundreds of websites for a username. This will allow you to make a username that is easy for others to find. Another tip: make it simple, like your name.

 4. Create a landing page

There are a lot of really inexpensive tools out there that can allow you to create a landing page. Some websites that DeVries suggested were


 5. Create your Social media profiles using RSS

 6. Manage with Tweet deck, digsby, or hootsuite

Another helpful hint Derek gave us was to write a blog or participate in tweet chats.

“It’s basically a bunch of people get together at a moderated time and there is a moderator who asks questions and people talk about the questions” DeVries said

Need help with tweet chat? Here are some simple steps:

  1. Get a twitter
  2. Find a tweet chat your interested in
  3. Log on at the appointed time and search for the hash tag
  4. Introduce yourself
  5. Watch for questions from the moderator
  6. Include the hash tag
  7. Reply to others, retweet other people and follow people you find interesting

The second part of his presentation dealt with networking in real life.

One thing Derek told us to do was to have a “tool kit” for events. Make sure you have a way to take notes, business cards, information to talk about, and that you are dressed for success.

“Dress at least as formal for the occasion if not more formal for the occasion.” DeVries said.

Behaviors to practice:

  1. Bring your personality
  2. Don’t with people you know
  3. Introduce yourself as a student to everyone you meet
  4. Make some notes about people to meet and topics you talk about
  5. Send hand written thank you notes to people who help you professionally
  6. Friend/follow them immediately after

The most important advice Derek gave us: “You are the future of PR and they better want to get to know you!”

Overall, I really enjoyed listen to Derek DeVries speak. I learned so much about social media and how beneficial it can be to me. Not only did he present beginners information for those who did not know much, he also presented us with information that professional and amateur social media gurus could benefit from.

Ferris State University PRSSA would like to thank Derek for taking the time out of his day to speak to our group and others who attended.


About ferrisprssa

We speak the truth with compassion. We embrace diversity in all forms. We are innovative, creative, upbeat and engaged. We are the Ferris State University PRSSA Chapter! Our student-run PR firm gives students outstanding hands-on experience and professional training.
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