Social Media Guidelines to Improve Your Career
Social media holds many obvious benefits to a career-minded user: besides proving that you’re a real person, social media encourages personal branding and networking that can put you in front of influential people in your industry. Career-oriented sites like LinkedIn make it easy to use social media for career improvement, but with so many users on “casual” social media such as Twitter and Instagram, navigating your profiles towards career success can be difficult or downright risky. Following certain guidelines can provide an easy solution that gives you an edge in the competitive job market.
Most social media users are aware that their profiles can be made public, and for career-minded individuals, having a public profile means that they may be easily discovered. However, it is important to first make sure that any public information is clean and tasteful. This goes beyond removing party photos and profanity. Politically polarizing articles, long rants, or inappropriate links are also good to remove or hide under private settings.
In addition, social media should not exist in a vacuum. A strong profile should always include a link to where people can learn more about you and your accomplishments, such as a personal website or blog. Don’t have a personal website or blog yet? Various hosting sites are available, oftentimes for free, making it a quick and easy process to increase your web presence and take a big step toward the career you want. Just be sure that when you make your blog profile or website, that you use your real name instead of a screenname. This will make you look professional and also increase the odds that your accomplishments are discoverable when people search for you.
Furthermore, unless it is your professional webpage or LinkedIn, it is a good idea to keep direct professional communications at a minimum. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like are much better for self-promotion and the sharing of industry-related articles than cold-messaging of potential colleagues. Extending messages without knowing the person can cause you to appear pushy or even “creepy,” since you likely have to deliberately research someone to find their Facebook or Twitter profile. These casual social media outlets are better suited for sharing articles, commenting on relevant industry news, and establishing yourself as a thought-leader. If done consistently, chances are that influential people will find you, rather than vice-versa.
Lastly, it is important to note that social media is just the beginning. A savvy career-minded user should think of social media as free advertising for accomplishments and abilities and will use it to augment a personal brand. Social media is a versatile tool for a variety of purposes, but with simple guidelines and a careful eye, social media can give you the leverage you need to accomplish your career goals. With over 1 billion social media users and counting, the opportunities are simply endless.
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