Social media are generally used for fun and games, chatting with friends and family, and sharing your every move and thought with the world. Like anything, if used correctly social media can be important tools that provide enjoyment and success.
While these websites are great for connecting with former friends or distant relatives, they also present the opportunity to make connections that may lead to employment opportunities or, at the very least, recognition for hard work.
One obvious example is LinkedIn, which is a direct way to connect with those in your desired career field and advertise the unique skills and experiences that you can bring to a job. While some students here at Rider may not be aware of LinkedIn, it is safe to say that everyone on campus is aware of, if not on, other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Still, it is important for students to understand that these sites also present valuable opportunities to get noticed out in the real world — in the right ways.
Let’s talk about how social media can be successfully used by student groups and organizations to gain members and spread awareness of events. As the managing editor of The Rider News this year, one of my goals was to dramatically increase our presence on social media. There are some people who just don’t pick up the paper — let’s be honest, there are some students who have probably never held a newspaper in their entire lives, and they’re not about to start now. By increasing our utilization of social media sites, however, we have gained hundreds of new followers and have begun to reach a whole new dynamic of readers.
Other student groups and organizations should consider taking their social media presence very seriously, as it will set their group up for more success and recognition on campus. Even more importantly, using social media to effectively reach people and draw them in is a skill that is useful not only here at Rider, but also out in the real world.
If you are one of the select few who refuse to join in the social media madness because you don’t want to be caught up in its drama, you may want to reconsider your complete avoidance of these sites. As social media are successful communication tools for student organizations, they also present companies of all shapes and sizes with the same communication opportunities.
Employers are looking to hire fresh young minds who are masters of social media. Even if you don’t want to have a personal Facebook or Twitter account, consider taking on the task for a group you are involved in. Start by checking out how other successful groups are using their social media, and see how many followers you can gain for your group. You can put this experience on your résumé and it will hardly take up any of your time. Employers will surely be impressed to know that you increased your organization’s followers by 500 in a semester, and may ask you to bring your expertise to their company’s social media sites.
Another social media outlet that can make you stand out from the rest is a blog. With endless blog sites that allow you to get yourself and your work out there for free — or pay some cash to boost your reach — blogs make it easy to share your work with friends, family and potential employers. You don’t have to be a writer to be a blogger. Whether you are a musician, artist, videographer, graphic designer or a photographer, you can utilize a blog to promote your hard work. Students can create an online portfolio of their work in an eye-catching blog that will show potential employers that they are passionate and serious about their path of study. Connect your blog to your personal social media to share your posts with everyone you know — you never know whom you might impress.
Social media are not designed to waste your free time — that is just how most of us choose to use them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging websites can all be used to make connections that can lead you to success. The more people who know your face, your name and your work, the closer you will be to landing that dream job.
Senior journalism major
Printed in the 12/03/14 issue.