The student affairs job search season is in full swing! The typical cycle for hiring for many new professional positions happens in the spring, so this is a perfect time to start reflecting on what your digital presence says about you.
Your digital presence is a significant part of your identity. Whether you use it for personal connections, professional development, or a blend of the two, who you are online can play a significant role in how you approach your job search.
Cidnye Weimer, one of the founders of the Digital Leadership Network, is in the midst of her job search process as she finishes her graduate program. Cidnye shared some of her thoughts on how she’s integrated her digital presence into her candidate presence, and how she’s leveraged her connections to assist in her job hunt. As an employer who regularly hires entry level professionals, I was curious to hear how Cidnye saw her digital presence interacting with her job search.
Charlie: How have you used your social media presence in your job search?
Cidnye: I have used it in a couple of different ways:
Charlie: Have you altered your presence at all leading up to the search?
Cidnye: No, because I am always mindful of my digital presence and how it represents me so I haven’t changed anything from what I was already doing. I am always thinking about how my students will perceive what I post or share. I also think about how my family members will perceive it, as my grandparents and a lot of other relatives follow me. So I am already always aware of my presence.
Charlie: How do you use social media in the job research process?
Cidnye: I have used hashtags like #SAgrad, #SAchat, and #SAsearch to follow tips and tricks and seek advice. I also have been personally using the hashtags #hireme and #jobsearch2k17 in a lot of my posts.
Charlie: Have you seen any major mistakes using social media as a candidate?
Cidnye: One thing that I have noticed is candidates posting in the Student Affairs Facebook group or asking on Twitter for advice about creating presentations for on-campus interviews. While I understand they are trying to prepare the best they can and want advice, I would also be conscious of the fact that your future employer could be in that group or see that Tweet and might think you can’t come up with it yourself. It might make them view you differently. So I would ask people on your campus first and then maybe private message other professionals or ask less specific questions.
I would also say not posting specifics about your on campus or getting offered until it is officially official like a written and signed offer from both parties, and they have told you that you can announce that information, because you don’t know if they have told the other candidates yet and you want the other candidates to find out from the employer that a position has been filled and not from your social media posts.
Charlie: Any tips or tricks for others as they use social media in the search process?
Cidnye: Just know that people are ALWAYS watching! Ask yourself if your social media is authentic to who you are. If someone met you in person would it be who they thought you were based off of social media or someone completely different? You can still have fun and be yourself on social media, but also show that you care about what is happening in the profession and how you are engaged. And look at the social media from the institution you are applying to, as well! I do that for every position I apply for.
Charlie: Thanks for your thoughts, Cidnye! Great advice for other new professionals as they approach their job search and reflect on their digital presence.
Navigating the job search process can be difficult, time-consuming, and stressful. Don’t make your digital presence another reason for stress. It is a privilege for many to be their authentic selves online – to not have to worry about how they look or how they identify will influence an employer’s first impression. Find ways to “professionalize” your presence during the search for whatever that might mean for your given field – add a professional headshot, take the opportunity to share resources, engage in conversations using professional hashtags, etc. Find ways to tap into your digital support networks, and take advantage of the strength of your digital networks to put yourself in a position to be a desirable hire for that first job!
How Social Media Can Help (Or Hurt) You in Your Job Search (via Forbes.com)
Social Media Success: A Guide for Job Seekers (via Business News Daly)
Job Search Blog Postings (via paulgordonbrown.com)