Making the Most of Social Media
In this day and age the world is more connected than ever before. We are constantly interacting on social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn. While these are great resources to use to keep in touch with your cousin who lives across the country and your friends from school, these platforms can also be used for professional development purposes and are great networking tools.
Last year, I was finishing up my freshman year of college, and I was frantically looking for an internship position or work that would help me develop much needed skills. I was volunteering on the SWENext Facebook page as a SWENext Ambassador when I stumbled across a post that said that SWE was looking for a summer intern. I was skeptical at first, but I finally decided to fill out an application and send it in. Shortly after applying for the position, I received an email and had an interview set up! To say the least, things worked out in my favor.
This past summer, I was fortunate to have worked at SWE headquarters as the Outreach Intern. From this internship, I have learned innumerable professional skills. I have had the opportunity to network with countless industry professionals. I have helped connect aspiring engineers to mentors. I got to attend WE16! If you can believe it, all of these amazing things came from a job I found on Facebook.
Tips to get the most out of Social Media
Clean up your profile
- You never know who is going to look at your Facebook page or your Instagram account, you want to make sure that everything that you have shared and posted represents the best version of yourself. When cleaning up your social media pages you also want to make sure and check that photos you have been tagged in are also appropriate for viewing. Before I post anything I always ask myself, “If a potential employer saw this post what impression would that give?”
Follow people and companies that interest you
- Companies use social media to promote cool new projects being worked on. If you want to stay well educated and up to date on industry happenings then you should be checking up on company’s twitter and LinkedIn pages frequently. I follow all of the companies that I might want to get internships with or work at on twitter and LinkedIn. You never know when you are going to run into someone who might be a useful connection; it makes an impression when you know what you are well versed in current industry events. Twitter and LinkedIn make it easy to see a lot of company postings all in one place.
Join groups that can actually help you
- Not one group can provide you with all of the resources that you want. Being a part of various different groups can help expose you to all the different opportunities available to you. I am part of a number of different SWE groups: the SWENext group, the St. Louis Regional SWE group, the SWENext group, and a women’s engineering group run by my local national laboratory. Each of these groups offer dramatically different resource pools, each valuable to me. Being a member of various groups is a good way to get connected to people who have the same interests as you as well as relevant information.
Get involved with SWE social media challenges
- In each monthly SWENext newsletter SWE hosts a new “Social Media Challenge.” These challenges usually involve making a simple post on one of various social media platforms. Participating in these challenges is a fun way to explore different engineering fields and learn about current events in the engineering world. Not to mention, participants in these monthly challenges have the chance to win some awesome prizes!
By Christine Maida, Outreach Intern, Society of Women Engineers