Four ways to advance your career through social media
Centennial College helps connect its students to jobs, which is why we're launching a special Career Week, happening February 8-12. Aside from the job fairs and networking opportunities present, we'll also be helping students learn essential skills during a series of special workshops.
Maria de los Reyes is a Branch Manager for the Creative Group in Toronto. She runs a team of recruiters, looking to find top talent in the digital, creative and marketing fields, and matching them with Toronto clients and agencies. Since she specializes in both the digital and marketing fields, she knows a thing or two about your personal brand, which is mostly developed through social media.
Maria will be hosting a special workshop on Wednesday, February 11, called "Social Media & Your Career." The workshop is a crash course in how to use social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to advance your career, and build and maintain an online network. She'll also discuss social media etiquette, and what you can do to present your most professional self online. There's more at the presentation itself, but here's some advice she gives about how to develop your career using social media:
1. Your potential employers will be watching, so keep it professional
It's the 21st century, so you should assume that every employer you give a résumé to will look you up online, and check into your social media presence. Keep that in mind whenever you post anything online, and make sure your profile is presentable to an employer, or at the very least, has its privacy settings turned up.
Aside from making content appropriate, there's a few other things to watch out for. Even if you're keeping things appropriate, avoid sharing every detail of your life, or participating in too many quizzes and online games, particularly if you have professional contacts in your network. Similarly, if you have issues with people, politics, or companies (especially companies), avoid mentioning it online, as it makes you seem antagonistic, and may scare employers off.
Finally, photographs on Facebook and other sites should appear professional, and making sure you have a good, respectable profile picture will do wonders. The College can help you with this during Career Week, as there will be special sessions where you'll be invited to take professional photographs for LinkedIn and other social network sites.
2. Use the right networks
Speaking of LinkedIn, if you don't have a profile on that site, it's a good idea to get one. You probably use Facebook and Twitter, and those are good networks for engaging with employers, but Maria considers LinkedIn to be the most appropriate network for properly connecting with businesses, showing off your portfolio and résumé, and gathering insight from the industry you want to enter.
3. Engage with your employers, and network
One of the biggest reasons you want to clean up your online profile is that you're not just going to want employers to search it out, you're going to want to seek them out and engage with them as part of your professional network. Starting in school, you'll want to add teachers and mentors to your network, as well as employers. Additionally, try to keep in touch with them as you job search, as they'll likely have contacts and insight into the industry, perfect when you're trying to break into your career. At the very least, they can become references on your résumé.
4. Develop your professional self
We've talked about what you shouldn't be putting on social media, but what about what should be up there? After all, it's important that you regularly update your networks, to show that you're active. You want to show employers what you're capable of. On LinkedIn, talk about your professional accomplishments, and your work history. Meanwhile, on Facebook, it's still okay to show off your interests and hobbies, if only to prove you have a personality.
If you'd like to know more about making the most of your social media, be sure to attend the workshop, on Wednesday, February 10, at the Story Arts Centre, and check out our other Career Week events.
By Anthony Geremia