We’ve all heard the many stories of social media use gone wrong. Take, for example, this scenario: Your new high school students find a “less-than-politic” tweet that you forgot posting during a confusing, “trying-to-find-your-own-place-in-the-world” freshman year. Just as you begin your highly anticipated student teaching experience, the fall-out from that rather innocent mistake begins, including needing to wait another semester for a new placement while you sort out the unfortunate consequences. Sound extreme? I’m sorry to tell you, not so much. Something like this happens every semester. And definitely not just where I work.
You hear about the potential pitfalls that come with social media use. I’m one of many to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Personal branding is real. I’ll even go so far to say that understanding how to do it effectively is an essential skill for new professionals. You have two choices when it comes to social media: use it or don’t. If you don’t, you are missing out on a lot of opportunity to learn from respected colleagues and friends every day. Everything has risks, for better or worse.
Be one of the examples of using it for good! The more you tweet, post, blog, pin and share information that reflects the meaningful, positive source of knowledge and inspiration that you want to be known for, the more opportunity you have to get yourself noticed by people who you aspire to working with some day.
Today, take ten minutes to create--or better manage--your personal branding campaign. Make this a 3-4 times a week habit and you’ll be building a solid, professional reputation in no time. A few ideas to get your started:
- Make sure you keep your professional accounts just that: professional. Don’t mix work with personal.
- Did you come across a quote or an article that really inspired you today? Share it.
- Find one leader in your field and begin following their social media outlets. Now do the same with an employer you’d be interested in working for. Finally, find a professional development organization (i.e., KDP, NAEYC, AAEE, etc.) related to your work, as well as to what your future learners are interested in that you might be able to incorporate into your work.
- What do you want to be known for? Your passion for instructional technology? The unique lessons you come up with that really engage your second graders? A great collaborator with parents? Begin sharing content related to what you love. You learn and begin building a reputation as an expert in your designated area who keeps up to date with best practices and current events.
And if you really want to get a jump on building your professional branding opportunities...put the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) National Conference on your calendar! You’ll meet respected colleagues that you’ll want to connect with and follow! October 24-26 • Pittsburgh, PA • aaee.org.
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.