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May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor: Utilizing social media to build your brand

Angela Cleveland and Saqi Mehta
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Published on May 18, 2015

Brand on brand on brand. It’s definitely THE buzzword used by companies, celebrities, athletes, and now it’s your turn. Below are 10 tips for you to leave an impactful digital footprint.

Put a Pin in it

Pinterest  – The Power of the Pin

Recipes, homemade craft ideas, and funny memes are just the tip of the Pinterest iceberg. The power behind this digital tool lies in its ability to connect users who share the same interests, and you can use this force to build your brand and make career connections.

Once you start following companies, professionals, and pinners who share your passions, there is a seamless transition into the world of creating your own boards and pinning products, ideas, and other industry-specific tips. You can create shared boards with colleagues or friends when working on projects or even create a personalized vision board to help you stay focused on your personal and professional goals.

Pinterest is a free resource for you to discover innovative concepts to stand out in any industry. If you are new to the job market or transitioning into a new career, following industry leaders helps you to stay current on trends and to find creative ideas so you can stand out from other candidates. You can easily share your accomplishments with others by uploading pictures that highlight your job performance, such as a photo from a program you organized with tips for others who want to mirror your results. With over 70 million users, you are sure to find helpful tips and popular pinners who can help you take your job search or career aspirations to the next level.

The Circle of Plus

Google+

At first glance, the Google+ interface looks like Facebook because you can share pictures, videos, updates and more. Google+ offers that plus the ability to create circles, which helps you categorize people in your life into groups (such as friends, co-workers, family, business contacts, etc…).

Whereas what you share on Facebook is shared with all of your friends, Google+ allows you to share strategically to certain groups. So, you can connect with industry leaders and engage in dialogue without cluttering the conversation with personal pics and posts (yours and theirs), and maintain a professional dialogue. Google+ also offers Google Groups, which are discussion groups focused on specific topics. Members find it is an an excellent way to connect with others in your industry and engage in thoughtful discussions. If you are already using Gmail, Google Calendar, or other Google apps, you can appreciate how seamlessly Google products work together.

Call Me Maybe

Alumni network

Your degree provides you with many career opportunities and professional connections via your alumni network. Your college career services office can provide you with information on local chapters, networking events, meet-ups, and even access to an alumni directory. Through the directory, you can search for alums who work for a specific company you are interested in or in the field you are seeking to enter.

While the alumni network is a great resource for every graduate, it can be especially helpful for those who don’t have many professional contacts. If your college doesn’t have a current directory yet, join the LinkedIn college group to search for alums. It’s much easier to open a conversation with a stranger when you already have something in common.

6 Seconds

YouTube /  Vine

You know you want to be the stand-out job candidate, but the application process is still pretty structured with traditional resume/cover letter applications. Since most companies are now using on-line applications, you can use hyperlinks to utilize the power of video to introduce yourself and your work.

Video clips of presentations, slideshows that highlight your portfolio, or a brief introductory clip can give employers a greater sense of who you are rather than simply scanning a resume. Some companies are now requiring video applications, and job seekers are getting creative — some using Vine videos (six-second looping videos), funny animated videos, or creating informative/how-to videos related to their field. Many job seekers search YouTube for information on companies they are interviewing with to find current news clips, promotional videos, or even interviews with people who currently work at the organization describing the interview process and company culture.

Follow the Oscar Selfie Road

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most powerful job search and professional networking sites. Many people like Twitter because they can follow trends in entertainment and their favorite celebrities, but you can harness the power of the hashtag to also find trends in your work industry.

Following companies, industry leaders, and commenting and tweeting about your field increases your digital presence and professional network. Tweet Chats are live Twitter events focused on a specific topic at a set time and filtered into a single conversation using a set hashtag. You can find and easily participate in Tweet Chats for any industry, and doing so often results in numerous professional connections. Many professionals maintain a current digital presence by retweeting articles related to their field, posting pictures of professional events, and endorsing companies on Twitter. A huge benefit of using Twitter is its transparency and ease of connecting with others in your industry. You can easily find, follow, and engage in professional dialogue on both a local and global level.

Thumbs Up

Facebook

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past eight years or so, you’re familiar with the site that lets you post your thoughts, feelings, and pictures as fast as you can say “like.” However, you can also utilize Facebook to do much more. For starters, you can create events to organize meet-ups, hackathons, or any other gathering of your choice. Companies may invite you to events, such as tech talks and onsite visits. The best use case is for groups. For example, there may be a Facebook Group for 2015 summer interns in the Bay Area. This is a great forum to determine your roommate situation, weekend plans, etc.

6 Degrees to Luke Skywalker

LinkedIn

If you think LinkedIn is just for working professionals, then you’re missing out. As a student you can utilize LinkedIn to list all of your accomplishments. Even if you don’t have formal work experience, it’s great to include advanced classes in your field, associations you’ve joined, and any projects you’ve worked on. Endorsements and recommendations are huge too. Ask professors and fellow students to write about your learning, organizational, and teaching skills. These will be transferable to future internships. Finally, post meaningful articles so others can see what you’re interested in.

All in the Hashtag 

Instagram

Amaro or Perpetua? This can feel like one of the most crucial decisions in life, so once you’ve tackled that you will notice that Instagram is a huge opportunity for branding. Companies you’re interested in may also utilize it to showcase their company culture and events. If it’s a place you’d like to work, leverage that to search hashtags and include your own to get noticed. There are companies and events trending everyday that you can jump onboard with. Be creative by including videos as well, and make sure you connect your account to Twitter to gain maximum exposure. #getthejobdone

Show, Don’t Just Tell

Portfolio

You are smart and accomplished, which means you have tons of projects, code, and personal work that you’d like to show. Portfolios are a great way to condense and showcase this information. Link to it in your resume and profile on all the above social media avenues. A portfolio can be creative; if you’re a designer, show freelance work, drawings, and classwork that you’ve done (there are plenty of free sites and templates to get you started). If you’re a programmer, GitHub is the best way to show and not tell. For the latter, branching off the master or forking will make you stand out.

Frolick in the 1st Amendment

Blogs

Our government worked hard to get us free speech so use it to your advantage! Keep a blog to write about topics you are passionate about. This is a great way to build up a following of readers as well as a community to share ideas and actions. You can even have guest bloggers (consider reaching out to people you’d like to work for one day) — a fantastic way to network and add meaningful content to your blog.

 

This post is by: Angela Cleveland, Educational Counselor & Saqi Mehta, Career Counselor

Angela Cleveland is a school counselor in New Jersey. She is a Google Certified Educator who advocates for using technology to enhance students’ learning experiences, the teaching profession, and online professional collaboration opportunities. For more information, Angela Cleveland can be reached at angelacleveland27@gmail.com


Saqi Mehta is a trained Career Counselor who is passionate about all aspects of career development, and has worked with college students at MIT & Harvard Business School. She is currently the University Recruiting Lead @Square. For more information, Saqi can be reached at saqimehta@gmail.com.

Angela Cleveland and Saqi Mehta

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