Kate Brodock is executive director of digital and social media at Syracuse University, where she leads efforts in the space. If youre a Generation X-er or older, you likely use social media to cut it in the real world. You may also use social networks for personal reasons, but its always with the understanding that youre a professional.
If you’re a Generation X-er or older, you likely use social media to cut it in the real world. You may also use social networks for personal reasons, but it’s always with the understanding that you’re a professional.
But newer generations of college graduates began their social media experience as a very personal one. And the shift to using social media for career development may seem optional. But it’s a necessary evil at the very least, and can actually be quite beneficial to your future at the very best.
Most teens and young adults have used social media to connect directly to friends and share personal experiences casual conversations with their networks. Yet interacting on social networks with an eye toward your career is different than doing so for purely personal reasons.
Using social media for professional purposes doesn’t mean you have to give that up. In fact, oftentimes it makes a person come across as more genuine and more approachable. But refining your language, highlighting content and information that’s more career-focused, and connecting and conversing with more people outside your immediate group of friends signifies that you’re interested in more than just the personal.
Build each network to create relationships that can be nurtured through interaction and conversation. By cultivating and organizing the network you create, you’ll be more effectively able to act upon professional opportunities.
Beyond the ability to connect and converse with people and groups from a professional standpoint, social media can actually help you find that job. Nearly every social networking site posts loads of job opportunities. Less obvious, but perhaps more effective, is the ability to connect directly to the brands you’d love to work for, as well as the people behind those brands. While you keep your eyes peeled for job postings, take some time to engage with these brands and people, and establish a relationship with them.
By interacting with professionals, industry media outlets and experts in your desired field of work, you’ll be able to deepen your own level of knowledge of that field and stay on top of trends and current issues. It’s an excellent supplement to your in-class work and good preparation for the continuing learning you’ll need to do when you graduate.
Constant self-promotion is almost always frowned upon in social media. Keep most of your posts (I suggest at least 80%) to conversation, third-party content, general comments and questions, and keep the sales pitches at a minimum. David Armano, EVP of global innovation and integration, discusses the overuse of the #humblebrag hashtag. You get the point.
Employers, future colleagues, industry leaders and other professionals do look at your social media activities. That being said, it’s a great opportunity to show your interpersonal skills, in addition to your own level of knowledge and interest in the field. College students sometimes get a bad rap, but by engaging with professionals, you can demonstrate your skill set and level of maturity. Read more…