Social media can be both a blessing and a curse in the development of your network. Used wisely social media can keep you in the minds of your network. Unfortunately many students use social media to their detriment. When you post inappropriate photos or content, your network starts developing a negative image of who you are.
The social media that are of the most relevance are LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn is more of a professional network, while Facebook tends to be more social. LinkedIn can help you make connections for internships and jobs as well as other career related connections. Facebook can portray more of a personal dimension of who you are. Unfortunately many students give a personal image on Facebook that can hurt more than help.
Here are some suggestions for using social media to develop your network.
- Join LinkedIn. Select well connected persons to be a part of your LinkedIn network. A professor who has been at your university for a long time could be a good connector to a number of alumni.
- Keep your LinkedIn site updated with new skills as you acquire them in classes and through experience.
- Join special groups on LinkedIn. You will typically find groups associated with your college or your academic major. These groups are a good way to connect with others in your chosen career field.
- Maintain a list of specific people who you would consider to be the A List of your network. Send email updates to this group at the conclusion of each semester at the end of the summer. These updates would describe where you are in your college career and reflect on where you want to go with your education.
- Keep Facebook professional. Avoid any content that could put you in a bad light. Don’t forget to include any recognition you earn or any photos of professional events on your Facebook page.
A perspective that you should consider with electronic media is that everything that is ever posted online will become permanent. Social media can be very helpful to you if used properly. Likewise social media can ruin your career if you are careless with what you post..