Social media may act as a career-building tool

Networking can strengthen online professional profile

Gabrielle Guido, Web Editor

From medicine to finance, social media platforms can be a vital stepping stone towards opportunities in college and future career paths, and they can allow for both social and professional connections even before students leave high school. 

“I use LinkedIn and Instagram to social network,” junior Jennifer Surjadi said. “I try to connect with people that I know but also professionals who have occupations that I am interested in.”

LinkedIn can connect members to internships and job opportunities as well as provide online skill building courses. Three people are hired from LinkedIn every minute, with over 87% of employers using the site for recruitment, according to LinkedIn

“Some people have told me they will not hire someone who doesn’t have a LinkedIn,” Alyssa Alvarez (’17) said. “It has become like a professional social media for me.”

Similarly, the messaging app Slack offers chat rooms and private groups within an organization or school to build professional networks.

“You can be more authentically yourself if you’re able to share more of who you are, as well as share your passions and expose that to other people,” former Slack Solutions Architect Jessica Barry said. “You can develop connections that can serve you later in other introductions to unlock your network beyond the scope that you might see originally.”  

Beginning a profile early can build a professional candidate’s reputation, according to Barry. Sites like LinkedIn can provide users with insight on an industry or company experience from those in that workspace.    

“I am able to reach out to people I have worked with and see who is hiring and who I can reach out to regarding programs or internships,” Alvarez said. “ It is also a great way to learn how to market myself better. I like to see how my managers and colleagues set up their accounts and market certain aspects of their jobs.”

By using social media like Instagram to repost, like photos, and reply to chats or comments, users can show their interests for employers to gain a cohesive understanding of an individual.   

“When trying to network on social media, I try to put out an image that is respectable but also curious,” Surjadi said. “I think adding more personal elements such as hobbies is a great way to be more personable.”

Social networking by connecting with those who reflect similar professional goals can act as a starting point to extend beyond an immediate sphere, according to Barry. 

“It’s fantastic to centralize your engagement with those many groups and passions,” Barry said. “It’s also great to stay in contact with people so the power is in your connections.”

Personalizing messages to potential connections by using witty subject lines, their name and explaining interest in their achievements or background can increase response rates by 10%, according to LinkedIn. 

“I think it is important to build this profile because it provides a clear timeline that is sometimes easier for people to understand and comprehend over a resume,” Alvarez said. “The detailed sections of licenses, skills and publications allow users to add more.”

Being active online and continuing to update and show academic and professional achievements can maximize a social media presence and portfolio. Users get five times as much engagement with their profile by posting pictures or videos frequently.    

“I think it’s valuable for my future career to get some first-hand insight into the workforce,” Surjadi said. “By establishing more connections now, I think it will be useful in the future as more connections could potentially lead to more opportunities.”