As career professionals we know the value of social media, but we often don’t use the tools ourselves that benefit our clients in their career development. We may be comfortable helping people build a successful resume and search the Internet, but there is more to social media than writing your profile, uploading a resume, and looking for employers. Social media provides an opportunity to develop good habits that are beneficial to a job seeker, entrepreneur and employee.
We can take a proactive approach to our own professional career management and practice using the free tools available for helping our clients while growing our own private practice. Social media is an effective tool for more than just a job search. We can help our clients prepare for changing jobs, careers, and occupations over their lifetime. Through social media you and your clients have the opportunity to show who you are, what you know, and why someone would want your skills, product, or service.
Using Social Media is an excellent way to improve writing skills through practice, editing, and accountability. Powerful effective writing is an important skill that is lost on texting, gaming, and chatting. Publishing articles for a blog or other media will help establish a professional presence. In my own coaching practice, a prospective client from New Jersey contacted me after using Google to search for Career Coaches. My initials NJ came up in his search, he read my blog, appreciated my values and writing style, and hired me based on my web presence.
When publishing an article, blog, or post you never know where the Internet will take it, and once on the “net” it can’t be retrieved. A daunting thought at first, but also a reminder to “think and edit” before posting on the Internet. I recently searched for an article I had written and found it on several websites. I was pleased, but at the same time I realized social media keeps me accountable for what I write. Using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, I need to be concise and say what is most important first, just as I would in a cover letter or business communication. When writing for social media:
Be clear and concise
Say what is most important first
Use a quotable phrase.
Build your Network of Colleagues, Friends, and Employers
Building your network of colleagues, friends, and professionals is one of the best uses of Social Media. As Richard Bolles describes the need for human connections, “In its essence, all job-hunting is a search not only for information, but also for people.” The value of networking on Social Media is to connect with like-minded people online and then meet them at conferences, events and interviews. I was surprised and honored to meet a colleague at a conference who said she recognized me from my Facebook picture. Through Facebook we had already been introduced. She knew who I was before I personally met her. By connecting on Facebook we shared comments, updated professional work, current experience, and articles. Career professionals and clients are asking what they can do with Linkedin and Facebook. By networking through social media you can:
Let people know who you are
Show the value of your product, service, or skills
Give support to like minded professionals.
Personal and Professional Branding
We’ve all heard how important personal and professional branding is. I like the dictionary.com definition of branding as, “to impress indelibly.” Whether you are a career professional in your own business or helping a client, you want to be remembered, and you want to influence how you are remembered. You can be remembered by honing in on your one-liner. Twitter forces you to say something memorable in 140 characters. Through short phrases and links to articles and blogs you begin to build your reputation and show your values.
Peter Crocker from “Flying Solo” asks, “Is Twitter a sign of society’s shriveling attention span and trivia obsession, or does it provide the strict discipline we need to distil our thoughts into focused nuggets?” Peter Crocker, “Share Your Business Pitch in 140 Characters,” 12/14/2010.
Through personal and professional branding you can:
Hone your one-liner
Build your reputation
At times it seems as if the practice of showing gratitude is a lost art, but with access to social media there are so many ways to get in the habit of showing gratitude. You can teach clients to show interest and gratitude using social media. Writing recommendations, comments, and researching employers are valuable ways to show interest in the work of others. Give and then request recommendations. I resisted recommendations for years until I began getting requests from grad students I had supervised and colleagues I had worked with. I started giving and requesting recommendations myself. Showing appreciation for the work and expertise of others is an excellent way to stay in the habit of showing gratitude. Once the habit is built, it is natural to remember to send thank you letters and appreciate colleagues. Use your attitude of gratitude to write:
Mentoring is an important part of using Social Media. Experienced professionals have an opportunity to share experiences with others. Sharing successes and challenges with through networks and associations creates transparency and raises awareness of career issues. Social media gives us the opportunity to:
Share experiences and expertise
Support those new to the profession
Make new contacts.
Career counselors can use social media as a tool to help clients build essential employability skills. Building strong career management skills before they start the job search will prepare them for a lifetime of career transitions.
Flying Solo, online 12/14/2011 http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/share-your-business-pitch-in-140-characters
Nancy J. Miller, M.S., CCM, is a Credentialed Career Manager and Creativity Coach with a Master’s degree in Career Counseling. For the past 10 years Nancy has been working with professionals, people in crisis, career transitions, students, and businesses providing personal/career coaching, workshops, classes and counseling. You can contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her Creative LifeWork Design website at: www. njmiller.weebly.com.
Nancy J. Miller on Tuesday 11/01/2011 at 06:46 PM
Thank you, Cathy. What an insightful question. After a quick Google search, I didn't see many Career Counseling classes in social media. So glad Chapman had the course. Career Counseling courses seem to be weak in training in social media and technology although that is the direction of much of the career resources and career assistance.
JoAnn Tennyson on Wednesday 11/02/2011 at 06:27 PM
Nancy and Cathy,
This is a timely topic and one that needs to be addessed. I am currently teaching a career development class to undergraduates in the Sacramento region and the class curriculum does not address this job search necessity. The "old days" of showing up at a function to network will always be needed, but the train has left the station regarding the new networking techniques, branding, adding value and cutting edge knowledge. We career practioners need to be on board, as well. Earlier today I asked the Career Services of DeVry to incorporate social networking into their presentations to my class as well as offering it as a part of my curriculum.
Thank you both for your timely comments.
Great entry, Nancy!
Janet Hignight on Thursday 11/03/2011 at 12:12 PM
Great article, Nancy! I am just getting my business started and see the need to get my name, Elegant Bag Creations, out there through social media. HELP!
Daphne Kagume Singson on Thursday 11/03/2011 at 10:09 PM
Great article - current information and concise presentation. I recently started private practice and am using social media to get connected and market myself and my services. There is a lot of information on this platform that can transform the career development process, such as job postings, career-related classes and most importantly relationship building.
Nancy J. Miller on Friday 11/04/2011 at 11:02 AM
I agree, Daphne, there is so much that social media can be used for that we sometimes forget that it's strength is in relationship building and showing our values.
Cathy Cassinos-Carr on Tuesday 11/01/2011 at 05:19 PM
Important topic, Nancy--thanks for all your insights and useful tips. I wonder how many career counseling programs have expanded their curricula to include social media training? I'm currently finishing my M.A. in career counseling at Chapman University, and one of the required courses, "Technology, Social Change and Career Development," focused heavily on social media tools and their application to career development. I found it to be one of the most relevant, timely and useful courses in the program.