Though social media are a fun way to show your love for your favorite football team or to share what you are eating for lunch, it can also be a great way to build a career. If used properly, social media can become a place where young professionals, students, and job seekers can build an online-presence and develop a personal brand. YouTern recently published an entry on their blog about the power of social media in career building.
In her article Personal Branding: A Trail of Breadcrumbs to Your Dream Job, personal branding pro Amelia Hadfield told readers that a strong online presence can be a great way to gain an advantage over the competition when it comes time to start searching for a job. “This doesn’t happen overnight; a strong brand takes time to build, so start now,” she said.
Hadfield suggests that job seekers picture creating on online presence much like creating a breadcrumb trail (but instead of leading Hansel and Gretel home, the path will lead social media users to you and your personal brand).
So how does one start their trail of breadcrumbs?
Share what you know. “You’ve put a lot of effort into your studies and developing knowledge for your desired career,” Hadfield told readers, “don’t keep it all to yourself.” Post what you learned in class that day, the press release you just submitted to your PR professor, or anything that represents your brand.
Also, consider what social media platform might be best for you. If you’re a musician, find social sites where you can post and share your music. If you’re a poet or a writer, consider using Tumblr. Once you’ve chosen which sites work best for you, employ traditional platforms like Twitter and Facebook to draw traffic to your other profiles.
Social media is the perfect place to connect with professionals in your industry. Comment on others’ blogs, retweet and reply to tweets that are informational to you. Impress others my endorsing their great work on all of your platforms, especially on your blog. This way, “you’ll begin to make a name for yourself (without even printing business cards!)” said Hadfield.
A more specific way to interact on social media is to ask. Ask professionals in your field things like what inspires them, about professional techniques and their work in general. These interactions are not just seen by the person you’re communicating with — but everyone else using the platform as well! Asking is a great way to draw positive attention to you and build that breadcrumb trail.
With these simple tips, you can start building your online presence today. And as Hadfield points out, it is essentially free, so take advantage!
“Be smart, be professional – and let your online professional reputation become the trail of breadcrumbs that leads to your dream job,” Hadfield concludes.
About the Author: Amelia Hadfield is a recent university graduate and freelance writer, currently working with UK promotional gifts distributor Ideasbynet on their personal branding series. This resource helps guide job seekers through the ins and outs of developing an online personal brand.