Social media is here to stay - why not make it work for your career?

social networking

Social media has played a major role in shaping how we present ourselves as people, both personally and professionally, for some time now. Though there are a number of considerations one should heed when beginning to build your professional persona, we can apply some of the same tactics we use that make our personal profiles impactful and engaging.

To put it simply, in today’s interconnected world, marketing yourself online through social media is a critical tool for effectively kick-starting and building a sustainable career.

With that objective in mind, here are three simple suggested tips for managing your social media presence which may help you reach new heights and land the job of your dreams:

Build a professional brand

It goes without saying that it takes far more than hard work and connections to build a reputation. This is where a social media presence can go a long way. Any recruiter worth his or her salt will tell you that your digital portfolio and voice are no longer simply viewed as an extension of your resume. You can establish your presence by building a compelling profile that includes: education, awards/achievements/scholarships, internships, job history, community services activities, and strengths.

Regularly sharing content that is noteworthy and relevant to your industry goes a long way in building your professional credit as someone “in the know” and as a trusted resource for the latest news.

Most hiring managers will review all mediums of social media when considering a candidate, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Your professional brand should feature consistency in professionalism, post quality and tonality across all platforms.

Be engaged

In addition to sharing content of interest to your industry cohorts, be sure to pose questions and foster discussion among them. There’s more to it than simply posting a news item or development to your profile and refreshing your newsfeed as the likes and comments roll in.

If you aren’t playing an active role, you are missing out on many opportunities to learn from others and grow your professional network. Feeling shy or sheepish about sharing? Join social networking groups and participate in professional group discussions, sharing your opinion and/or advice where merited.

But try to be adventurous and create content that people will be compelled to share with their own networks. Try to help out others by making introductions and connections online for your peers, classmates and colleagues. These actions will pay dividends in the future if and when you are faced with an inevitably similar predicament and are in need of a helping hand.

Did you know that engaging on social networking sites can lead to increased visibility? According to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. It’s another consideration you should heed prior to applying for your next position.

Play by the rules, and know your place

Though technically there are few rules to social media, there are certainly some gray areas and potentially dangerous territories that should be avoided if possible.

The tried and true sentiment among the “best” in professional social media is to know your audience. Each platform lends itself to a certain type of content. For example, refraining from or, at the very least limiting the amount of personal or non-professional content you share on LinkedIn will go a long way in bolstering your impact and credibility. There are certainly blurred lines between work and life and often the most impactful content discusses topics within that intersection. As a young professional, it would be wise to play it on the safe side and share content that highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a clear and positive way.

You have the power to control what people see. Limit public access to content within each social media platform. But in general, you should try to avoid posts that could be viewed as unprofessional or unsavory.


Misbah Mayet ♦  University of Farmers