You Are The Product You Are Trying To Market
Your professional reputation is your strongest currency. Spend it wisely. Digital Hygiene plays an important part in establishing this reputation. If you think Recruiters and Hiring Managers are not paying attention, you are sorely wrong. They will find your social media presence and formulate a personal opinion of you based on what they find there. Are you using Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to your advantage?
I always ask students to imagine their favorite TV show or even a favorite restaurant, and then ask them how they first heard of it. The answers always come back the same, either they saw an advertisement or, more commonly, they heard about it from a friend. These days word of mouth, especially on social media, speaks louder than the majority of print or TV ads and has the power to spread like wild fire. When I see friends discussing a TV show or retail location over and over again my curiosity peaks, and I want to know more. These are my friends. We have a lot in common. If they like it, then most likely I will as well. If a brand I respect recommends something, I naturally want to know more about it.
I like to take this approach to networking or job searching. If you put yourself out there on places like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you have so many more chances of getting noticed than you would by laying low and not getting involved.
Yes, there it is again: Get Involved!
Create content, jump in on conversations, post your work, help others, and let the world know what you have to offer.
Here's a few things to remember:
You want to be easily identified – Use your name and a decent picture of yourself. I am not a big fan of gamertags and nicknames, unless this is an already established brand that you have created.
Be helpful to others – People tend to remember kindness. The more you give, the more you get. If you are in your 6th month of a degree program, you may know more than those in their 1st. Give back to your community. We all have a lot to learn. Be humble, no matter how much you think you know.
Don't be opinionated – You need to be careful. Printed word does not reflect inflection, especially with sarcasm. I myself tend to be very sarcastic. My close friends recognize this, but someone I have not met could perceive my sarcasm as arrogance. Opinions are alright as long as they are presented as opinions and not facts. Remember that there are always more ways than one to fillet a fish.
Ask questions too – Your ability and willingness to learn is as important to any potential employer as your ability and willingness to contribute. I cannot stress this enough. Just don't ask the questions that you could easily find with a quick Google search. Do your homework first.
Be interesting, not juvenile – Provide thought-provoking ideas and comments. What are you currently playing, and why does it speak to you? Be professional, and don't become over bearing. You don't have to like or comment on everything. Be visible, but don't be a stalker. Know your audience and respond accordingly.
This post could go on for days, but I would love to hear your thoughts on Social Media. What are other good practices and tips you can share? Post in the comments, or hit me up here, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter.