Social media plays a huge role in how we function. Many of us use social media for our personal lives, though businesses also maintain a professional presence on many sites. It is for that very reason that it’s a good idea to think about what your current online persona says about you, and to consider what presence you want to have online.
Search for Yourself
Go ahead, do it! Type your name into Google, or any other search engine, and see what comes up. Since businesses may also do this when you are going through the hiring process (I know, I’ve done it!) it helps to know what others can easily find out about you. If you don’t like what you find, look into ways to adjust privacy settings, especially on sites like Facebook.
Clarify Your Values
What is important to you? What would you want prospective employers to know about you? Having a sense of these values, and making sure they are clearly represented throughout your online persona, will help you make sure you are represented in the best way possible. At times, someone’s first impression of you may be generated online without you having the chance to address their assumptions, so make sure you are putting your best foot forward.
Build a positive presence
Once you clarify your values, think about what presence you want to have online. Consider your professional goals. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, consider opening one as many businesses use these to network with professionals and conduct job searches. Consider following businesses on sites such as Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their current operations. Comment on their posts and start to build those connections.
Remember: The Internet is Forever
Or at least it seems that way for the time being! I’ve been told, “if you wouldn’t say it to a parent or grandparent, don’t post it.” I’ve heard of numerous people being denied job opportunities or being fired for current jobs due to their online actions, and have seen a variety of stories in the news about such things. My takeaway: be very thoughtful about what you post that is publicly visible.
Develop Your Skills
As more social media sites develop, keep in the loop on what’s out there that may assist you in meeting your goals. An awareness of, and tactful participation in, social media outlets shows businesses that you are aware of current technologies, and may even give you a leg up in a search process.
There are various workshops and tools in the community, online, and, at times, on campus, that can help you develop your social media skills. Take advantage of them! I, personally, went to a workshop hosted by the Career Success Center at FRCC’s Westminster Campus and learned a lot of what I am sharing with you. You can find them online at www.frontrange.edu/wccareersuccess.
Happy searching, posting, blogging, and more!