We were just a bunch of 30-somethings sitting around the dinner table drinking beer. The conversation, as it often does, turned to career. But this was no ordinary venting session about how “my boss did this,” or “my co-worker said that.” The topic of social media came up and we all came to the consensus that our profiles were no longer a diversion, or a distraction, but an actual tool, to be honed and used towards career advancement.
Crazy, considering that not too long ago the use of social media was most often banned or frowned upon in the work place. I remember working at TV Azteca, a Spanish Language television station in 2005, in the Marketing Department, and no one used social media at the office. Most of the platforms we use today had not yet been invented, but MySpace was definitely around. My boss would have laughed in my face if I had suggested that the shows we were producing and the campaigns we were running should have their own MySpace page. This idea did not occur to me back then, but if it had, I probably would have been let go sooner than I actually was.
As a woman in her thirties, I have hesitantly come to the conclusion that social media is a valuable career tool. I never wanted to live my life online, or feel like my personality was split amongst all of my profiles. I did not jump on the social media bandwagon, rather I lingered outside of it for a while, observing and taking in the view. Two years ago I began writing a blog, and that is when I truly learned how important and powerful a tool social media could be for my career, all of my careers.
By joining the public conversation, I have become better informed, but I also have access to so many more people, and people bring opportunities whether that be for my writing, my dancing, or for my career in Education. This access to people, the exact number of people you have access to rather, is also what many prospective employers want to know when they ask for personal social media links on a job application. Employers are interested in the amount of influence you carry. By participating in social media, I am also actively practicing skills that are now required in a professional resume. Back in 2005 I was a Marketing Coordinator, today the same job would be something more like Social Media Coordinator
The world has changed in such a short time. It used to be that a well written cover letter or a resume demonstrating plenty of relevant experience would suffice, but today, employers, (just like prospective dates,) can Google any name and screen candidates, (potential mates,) on a much more personal level. If anything, it is for this reason alone that I have come to join and now promote the use of social media for career purposes. My profiles have become the first impression I give before an email, phone call or in person meeting takes place.
Scary, I know. Guess it’s time to go delete a bunch of angry drunk posts huh?
By: W. Castellanos-Wolf