Social media can make or break you.
We get to live in an age where social media can be your own living portfolio or it can be the reason you lose your job. It just depends on how you use it.
Media students, like myself, can benefit greatly from a strong presence on social media. Sharing your work and uplifting others can help you land a job right out of college. It can get eyes on your work that may have never seen it otherwise.
One of my part-time jobs is graphic design for Coyote Athletics, mostly social media graphics or videos. I often quote tweet or share posts with content I’ve made so someone who comes across the original post could see the work is mine.
My supervisor also interacts with my stuff quite a bit. Especially on the bigger projects I’ve worked on. This gets even more eyes on my work and in this case, eyes that work in the industry because she’s already connected with them.
You can reach people on social media you may have not had the opportunity to do so before by mentioning them in a tweet or sending a private message. This is your chance to give your “elevator pitch”.
On the other hand, we’ve all seen high school and college students lose their chance at a college education or scholarships or older adults lose their jobs by sharing racist, homophobic or hateful comments on social media.
That being said, racist, homophobic or hateful people don’t deserve a chance at bringing that bias into an industry that is most likely fighting to get rid of it already.
If you’re serious about your professional future, get your brand out there.
Get into the online industry you want to pursue. Find industry leaders and follow them on Twitter. See how they tweet, how they act on social media and fake it until you make it. Learn from them how to interact within the industry then build your own brand.
Your social media accounts don’t have to be entirely dedicated to your industry all the time. Add your own personality. Tweet memes, share funny videos on Facebook, post cute pictures of your cat on Instagram. Your online presence is a reflection of you. Make it as true to yourself as you can.
Students in areas like media and politics don’t have a set career path that education or medical students do and this is where social media really comes in to help give students that edge. Media students have the chance to practice being reporters by live-tweeting events. Political science students can build their platform or help someone else build theirs.
Even though education or medical students don’t rely on social media to build their brand or find a career, they still benefit from finding their industry online. My mom is a teacher and she finds great ideas for her classroom from other teachers in Facebook groups. Medical professionals can connect with each other all over the world and share ideas.
Social media can be a great tool for success and furthering an industry or it can be an instrument of self-destruction. It is your choice for how you use your online platforms.