For new graduates, once the celebrations and realization of having your academic career behind you subsides, it’s time to start thinking about landing your dream job.
There is no question that branding and selling oneself to potential employers has changed drastically over the last decade, particularly with the advent and proliferation of social media virtually creating online presences for users whether they like it or not. However, if you use these tools to position yourself correctly, the benefits they can provide for your career in today’s digital world are endless.
Take Twitter (News - Alert) for example, a social networking platform that doesn’t require you to be a new graduate to take advantage of the positive impact it can have on your potential career. Whether you are right out of college or a writer, Web designer, or tech enthusiast already in the business, you should be using Twitter to position yourself as a thought-leader in your area of expertise by creating a repository of proof as to why you are indeed as experienced and passionate as you claim to be. Being more strategic with your tweets will not only extend your online presence but it will also help to create a portfolio of sorts that you can be proud of when it’s time for you to move on to your next endeavor. Here are five ways to making your Twitter stream an effective online tool for your career:
Promote your work. Whether you wrote a blog post for an internship that you are proud of or designed a sick logo in your spare time at Starbucks last weekend, you should be sharing it with more than just your Facebook (News - Alert) friends. Create an engaging tweet to go along with the link to your work that will not only encourage your audience to click on it, but will also spark a conversation among your followers. We have become so accustomed to thinking of ‘social media’ as platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but the real meaning of social media is the interactive dialogue that is created using these tools.
Share the content that inspires you. Depending on your routine of browsing the Web for valuable information to keep you on the cutting edge of your industry, you likely come across great content or videos that help to motivate your own work. By sharing these reads with your followers, not only does it show that you are up-to-date and passionate about learning more about your industry, but it also gives credit to whoever created it. And don’t forget to mention them in your tweet! A large part of becoming a respected member of the Twitter community is common courtesy. ‘Follow me, I’ll follow you back.’ ‘Give me kudos on my work and I’ll do the same.’ You get the picture.
Generate a following. One of the most rewarding parts about being engaged on a social media site such as Twitter, particularly for a new graduate, is the opportunity to reach a new audience to which you normally wouldn’t have access. Unlike Facebook, members of the Twitter community follow other users based on the content they share, rather than who is in their immediate network of friends, family and colleagues. By engaging with your followers by starting a conversation or retweeting their tweets, you are acknowledging the fact that you value what they are saying too. The more love you show your following, the more it will grow, which in turn will help to solidify your social clout.
Cast a wide net. Unless you have already landed your ideal job, keep in mind that you don’t want to pigeon-hole yourself into the particular sector your current company’s market serves. For example, if you’ve landed a job in the financial industry but you really aspire to be more integrated in the fashion world in the future, try to find a way to correlate the two so that you can promote what you are currently working on while still letting your passions shine through. That way, when it comes times to switch industries, you will appear more versatile. It’s important to find a balance between tweeting since the majority of your following will likely fall under a particular category based on the content you are sharing. Tweet content and follow users that are related to your current line of work, but be careful not to limit your reach.
Save the up-to-date personal statuses for Facebook. Think of Twitter as your professional social platform. Sure there is LinkedIn (News - Alert), which further allows you to create your occupational profile and make valuable connections, but with the help of keyword-focused hashtags, Twitter has become its own search engine. Avid Twitter fans utilize their newsfeeds as just that, a place to access the latest news on one unified platform. Think of it like personalizing your cable box. Twitter allows you to choose the channels you are most interested in watching and access the news on demand when you are ready for it. If you are really having a hard time segregating your work and personal life, create a personal account and a professional account to separate the two, without sacrificing the brand you are trying to build for your career.