When you think of social media, the first things that probably come to mind are websites such as Facebook and Twitter. These are known to be personal relationship networks, or networks in which you can share pictures, videos, status updates, and more with your friends and family. However, there are more social media outlets out there that can help you post your content in a more professionalized way. Some may even lead you to landing your next job.
College students pursuing careers from business to athletic training may come onto the campus scene without ever hearing of the professional social media platforms the Internet has to offer. I had never heard of LinkedIn until my fashion teacher required us to make an account for an assignment grade last year. But the more I started using it, the more I realized the simplicity of networking with professionals in my dream job industry. Instead of friend requesting, or following others, LinkedIn gives you the option to “connect” with co-workers, classmates, and even potential employers. By allowing me to build a profile that is essentially a virtual resume, I was able to brag about all my job experiences, academic achievements, and more. LinkedIn allows the user to post skills they believe they have and then others who they’ve worked with can endorse them for it. Some of my classmates have endorsed me for skills from Microsoft Office to public speaking.
I hope to someday enter the industries of fashion and/or communications. Whether I make it as a journalist, fashion buyer, or something else entirely, it’s important for me now to get myself out there. Connecting with people who have already made it allows me to learn from them and potentially meet my future employers through them. That being said, I like to post as much content as I can to showcase my experiences. I post videos I’ve made, shows I’ve anchored, and certifications or awards I’ve garnered. It’s also good to post writing samples and I have several links to articles I’ve written for on-campus magazines, newsletters, and blogs. I also have links to my personal blog and other social media sites.
What Not to Share
If you include links to your personal relationship networks on LinkedIn, it’s important to keep those sites neat and tidy. Your future boss and co-workers do not want to see wild party pictures or drunken tweets. There’s far too many examples of people losing their jobs over tweets that went against a company’s standpoints. That being said, sometimes you may want to keep your Twitter and Instagram accounts private and un-tag yourself out of questionable Facebook pictures. Another option is to have two separate Twitter handles: a professional one for networking and other activities like Twitter chats, and a private one to tweet your thoughts to friends.
When participating in a fast-paced Twitter chat, conversing with friends, or even going off on a rant, proofreading can easily slip your mind. Though tedious, it is important to check over tweets, status updates, and picture captions before you send them. This especially goes for hopeful journalists and writers; employers want to trust that whom they’re hiring will produce good writing copy to uphold the professional standards of their business.
A Web of Options
Whether you like to use social media to keep in touch with friends or network with professionals, there is a wide variety of sites you can use. A newer and more casual method of keeping in touch is Snapchat, but you probably wouldn’t use this to interact with your boss. Then there’s Vimeo, Vine, and YouTube. I use YouTube to upload my videos and share them with others. Vimeo is where the student TV network at UD posts our broadcasts. This site makes it easy for viewers to download and save videos they like or want to send to others. It’s great for downloading and submitting a portfolio. Vine is a more casual platform with short humorous videos that play on loops. I wouldn’t be marketing myself to an employer on there. If videos aren’t your thing and you like to remain more personal and private, maybe shoot to be an anonymous blogger on Tumblr or Pinterest. All in all, when choosing what social media platforms to interact with others on, always base your decision on the formality of the situation.
Contribution By: Mallory Metzner
Mallory Metzner is a sophomore communication and fashion merchandising double major with minors in journalism, business administration and Spanish. She currently serves as a member of the UD intercollegiate figure skating team, learn-to-skate teacher at the UD Fred Rust Ice Arena, crew member of the Student TV Network 49 News, writer for the UDRESS fashion magazine, public relations team member for UDRESS, and a general member for PRSSA-UD. Follow her on Twitter, @MaleePaytatweet.