Every time you like, friend, tweet, follow, or connect, you’re using social media to leverage your professional digital presence – whether you intend to or not.
Oftentimes, admins attempt to segregate their personal and professional accounts by using a specific social media platform for one or the other purpose. For instance, someone might use LinkedIn exclusively to grow their professional network, and Facebook to post personal updates and keep tabs on their friends. What many don’t realize is that the line between personal and professional social media use is extremely blurry.
Dispelling a Social Media Myth
The separation between personal and professional social media usage is a myth. It simply doesn’t exist in today’s digital age, regardless of the latest privacy settings or security updates. If you post something online, you should expect that friends, colleagues, and potential employers alike could read it. If you’re in the professional world, and you’re online in anyway, what you’re posting, liking, and tweeting is part of your professional digital presence. This isn’t meant to scare you into abandoning all forms of online communication; rather it’s to encourage you to use them wisely and to your advantage.
Harnessing Social Media’s Professional Advantages
When used properly, social media is a virtual gold mine for leveraging yourself professionally. There are significant professional advantages to putting yourself out there in the digital world, and doing so requires a negligible amount of your time. You don’t have to be overly tech-savvy to reap these rewards either. Most of these benefits can be achieved by anyone who’s comfortable using email and the Internet.
- Build and establish your personal brand. You are a brand. Not in the same sense of Apple or Coca-Cola, but your individual set of skills and talents represent a specific “product” that you offer to an employer. Social media allows you to build your brand in the same way it helps recognizable companies improve theirs: by capturing people’s attention. In your case, you’re aim is to catch the eyes of current and prospective employers and recruiters.To do this, register with the social media platforms you’re comfortable with; create a profile (or profiles) that represent you and your skills in the best light possible; and start posting! Tell your friends or followers your thoughts on the latest industry news, post a review of a relevant book you’ve read, or share your thoughts on a new research report or survey. Just remember, everything you post is a reflection on your personal brand.
- Attract potential employers and recruiters. If you’re in the market for a new job or you’re considering changing companies anytime in the near future, you need a social media account…or two! LinkedIn and Twitter are hotbeds for recruiters and many troll these platforms and professionals’ profiles in search of prospective job candidates. Social media platforms are also ideal for quickly and efficiently communicating your job-search efforts. Just make sure your current employer is aware of your intentions before you spread the word amongst your networks. You don’t want them finding out you’re planning to jump ship via a social media update.
- Connect with companies and their leadership. Social media outlets offer a great avenue for staying up to date on your current employer, as well as companies you’d like to work for in the future. Learn more about a prospective company’s culture, the issues it’s facing, and the latest news/trends just by connecting with it on social media. You can even reach out to the company’s leadership who may be able to provide valuable insights into what happening within the organization.
- Expand your global network. A wealth of industry experts and professional connections are available through social media, and contacting them is just a few mouse clicks away. People whom you might never get an opportunity to meet in person can still provide useful feedback on your profession and industry from afar. There’s also an opportunity to cultivate these online correspondences into actual professional relationships.
- Showcase your expertise and experience. Want to express your thoughts on a new industry development, or weigh in on an important issue? Social media lets you broadcast your skills, expertise, and experience to a large, captive audience. Gone are the days when you had to write a letter into a newspaper to have your thoughts heard or hire a headhunting agency to market your skills. Social media allows you to disseminate information, promote yourself, and even share photos and videos.
Social media can make a huge impact on your professional life. There are limitless opportunities to cultivate your professional presence and turn it into something meaningful — if you take the time and care necessary to make it work in your favor. Just think twice about posting that photo of you at Marti Gras on Facebook or casting a 140-character tirade about your insufferable co-worker out into cyberspace. You never know who might be reading!
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© 2013 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.