I’ve noticed recently, especially since I launched a “Social Media Communication” course at Curry College, where I oversee the Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the undergrad PR courses, the incredibly low profile that a majority of my students have.
It’s not that they’re not aware of the need to “see and be seen.”
It’s just that they don’t seem to have grasped the true meaning of “social media presence” in today’s ultra-wired world…the need to “see and be seen” on at least the most popular platforms.
If they were studying science (I’m gonna hear from the Biology Department on this!), this might not be so much of an issue. But they’re Communication majors, and the very name implies a knowledge…and utilization…of current avenues for both getting the message out and being “seen” by others.
It’s not confined to my troops at Curry, however. I’ve been invited to present a seminar on social media’s role in career advancement and job search at Regis College, where I teach part-time in the graduate Organizational and Professional Communication area. The objective is to present a clear explanation of why social media, in this case LinkedIn specifically but also other platforms, is a “must be there” reality today.
I “get” that not everyone is or is going to be social media savvy. But I’m not talking about “everyone.” I’m talking about college seniors and grad students who are feverishly combing online job sites and (or at least, I hope) career services job listings at their college or university.
Note the emphasis on “I hope.”
Colleges' career services offices, from what I saw in my peregrinations about the state a few years back as a part-time professor at several colleges in the Boston area, are a woefully underutilized resource. Granted not all are what I would classify as “with it,” but the majority have databases that can at least pry open the employment gates so that you can catch a glimpse of the wonders that await you.
At Curry, I'm happy to say, we offer a robust selection of services and resources for both current students as well as alums...and people find jobs or internships regularly by taking advantage of the advice, assistance, and guidance offered.
But that’s just one piece of the puzzle.
The other is establishing yourself “out there”…creating an online “you” that I, as a potential employer, can access and learn more about you.
An obvious start would be LinkedIn…populated by employees, employers, would-be employees, employment specialists (recruiters), and others. To use my explanation (that those smarter than I absolutely hate), it’s the professional’s Facebook. Yes…before you start spamming me with your protestations…I know it’s much more than that. But let’s K.I.S.S…Keep It Simple, Savant.
And there are other “value-added” options such as Twitter (where you can post frequent and regular comments about events in the news, your own observations on life/business/college, etc.), Pinterest (where you can create boards to post articles, cartoons, and such that show your interest areas)…your blog (created with a clear vision of who you are or want to be and populated with regular posts showing the depth and breadth of your thoughts).
I’m not suggesting you have to be using all these, or even most of these.
What I am suggesting is that you have a presence on at least one so that, if I meet you at a professional event (PRSA, Social Media Club, IABC, or elsewhere) and you give me your card, I can do a quick Google search or visit the website that you indicate on your card to find out a little bit more about you…and…perhaps…pass on your name to someone who I know is looking to fill a vacant position.
But this isn’t going to happen unless I can find you online…so don’t be invisible!!
"As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish, I wish he's stay away"
-Hughes Mearns, "The Psychoed"