How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Career

By Mel Sim

It’s not just for uploading photos and status updates….

Did you know that Malaysia ranked top five globally and highest in Southeast Asia for mobile social media penetration, according to a 2019 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social. Which means you, you and you (or in more accurate numbers 80 percent of Malaysians) spend a daily average of two hours and 58 minutes on social media.

What this also means? That you can easily be found on the Internet, and yes – even by the people you work with. So if you had an all-nighter last weekend but told your colleagues that you spent it at home reading, careful – the truth is in your photo feed, especially if you’re the type to upload everything, every time.

But let’s look at the positive side of social media and how it can help your career instead, shall we? Why not take advantage of your Facebook or Instagram feed to boost your career? Here are some ways.

Keep it clean online
Remember how anyone can access your social media especially if it is a public account? That includes the HR director who uses Facebook and Instagram for “background check”. According to this research, 67% of hiring managers say Facebook has the most incriminating information on job applicants. That’s because we don’t really think twice about posting stuff online and some of our friends just love tagging us in their photos without asking if it is all right to do so.

A glimpse of your social media feed can give HR a lot of information about the kind of person you are and what your real interest are. After all, social media is an extension of the person you are. So if you talk about your love for volunteering during your interview but have nothing on it in your social media feed, one’s bound to question if you are being honest about it at all.

What to do? You can go down the easy route, which is make your social media accounts private. No access, no info, right? Good but then one would question what are you hiding? So an even better thing to do is to curate your social media account. Attended our recent networking event for undergrads? Upload some photos of that and write something short on what you learnt about it. Share links from professional sites that are informative. You can still make it personal by sharing photos of you hanging out with friends or travels with your family to show that there’s more to you than just a potential job candidate.

Tweet the right people
Twitter is a great place to share your thoughts… and it is also the place to connect with the right people – those who may help boost your career. Start by following the relevant people like CEOs and directors of companies (many of them are on Twitter!) who often share interesting news about the industry. Twitter allows you to reach out to these people like never before so use that. Send a tweet in response to what’s being shared (be smart about your comment) and you may get a respond. And if your comment is really smart, who knows – you may be in the radar. So if and when you decide to apply for a job at that company, you can use that in your advantage by casually mentioning it to the interviewer or hey, maybe you’re remembered from your tweet!

Follow publications in your industry
This is the easiest way to keep up to date on what’s happening right now in your industry. Like the right pages and your newsfeed will automatically fill with articles, videos and discussions that you can use to impress your boss, colleagues or an interviewer.

While you’re at it, share their stuff too. Add a comment with your thoughts to give it a personalised vibe. The more good stuff you share on your social media feed, the more professional and reputable you’ll look.

Join a group!
There is easily a group on Facebook that is dedicated to your line… or something you’re interested in. Click join and start engaging with like-minded people. Interaction with the right individuals can help you grow personally and career-wise. Engage in fruitful discussions, ask all the right questions. Don’t be that person who post non-related info or trolls everyone in the group. Because you never know who might be in the same group, like someone who may interview you for your next job and remembers you as a troll.

Find companies in your industry
A lot of companies have an official social media account and if you follow it, you’ll get all the latest info you need at your fingertips. Which will come in handy for a job interview or just for general knowledge to know what’s happening out there.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

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