Leveraging Social Media for College, Scholarships and Jobs

This is from a social media presentation I gave at our Step Above camp this summer.

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What is your favorite social media site and why?

What is it used for? What is its purpose? How else can it be used?

            Today, we will look at how you can use social media to help with college, scholarship, and job searches, as well as some of the dos and don’ts of social media etiquette. 

How many of you have an idea or know where you want to attend college or branch in the military? What do you know about the college, or branch and what makes you want to attend or be a part of these organizations?  A good way to find out even more information about these places is through their social media sites. Look at the reviews and comments from students, faculty, and parents. Social media is also a place where you can ask questions and make possible connections with people.  Think about what a potential school’s social media says about them. Remember that colleges and military branches are looking at your social media pages too. They are googling you, your Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and everything else. A good rule of thumb is if you are embarrassed for your grandparents or college admissions rep to see, don’t post it.   In the world, we live in; people make snap judgments as you all know so be careful.

            You can also use social media to search for scholarships.  Scholarship America posts new scholarship info on their Facebook and twitter pages. 

            As you progress and prepare for college, military, and beyond you be utilizing social media for more than just posting statuses.  You will want to become marketable and build a brand for yourself. Think about what you want to be known for and if that is the image you are now projecting. (Break into groups and discuss what they want their brand to be based on their career goals and what they want to be known for.   When you are job searching let your contacts know because as we discussed previously, you never know who knows each other. In The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, he discusses 3 types of people, connectors, mavens, and salespeople. We are going to focus on connectors.  Connectors know a lot of people and they know lots of different types of people. Connectors help people find other people. They are really good networkers. When you can connect with a connector, you have just broadened your network.  Think about your group of friends you all know the same people but when you know more people, you have more opportunities. (*My story about Christy) This is where social media comes into play; you will begin making connections through other people. Think about camp this week, you have made new friends that you will add to your social media network, you’ve met people in the business world, and when you make one new connection, you then connect to all their connections. You may even find that you know people in common and didn’t realize it.  You also widen your circle this way. Think of the people that you know in your life that are connectors that are good at helping people find people. Maybe you are a connector and never realized it. 

How many of you are familiar with LinkedIn? LinkedIn needs to become your best friend! It’s a professional network that helps people connect with others and find jobs. It’s easy to create a profile with your work, school, or volunteer experience. You can post any type of presentations you’ve done or things you have written. You can join professional groups that interest you and connect with other professionals. (*Maria Art Story) LinkedIn has a job section just for students and once you begin attending a college, you can join that network and connect with alumni. LinkedIn is a great tool that you need to begin familiarizing yourself with.

            It’s important with all social media that you are engaged and active. This doesn’t mean that you need to be on social media 24/7 but it’s important to show interest.  There are small and simple things that you can do, if you are interested in helping the environment join groups that want to help the planet. Share articles or posts that are important to you to spread awareness to others. 

Social media is here to stay and is always changing so stay current! Your best bet is to use it to your advantage and allow it to be a positive tool in your life. You’re building a brand, what do you want it to say about you? What is your message to the world? What do you have to say? Use social media to help you with scholarships, college, and job search information. As long as you use social media etiquette you will thrive


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