At a recent speaking event on college and career readiness, I piloted my lessons on how to utilize social media in high school and college to help with next steps for these young folks. I focus a lot on social media with my professional clients and it is something that almost needs MORE attention to my younger clients.
When you are surrounded by people using social media a certain way, it can be very easy to “slip up”. So the youth of today are surrounded by everyone using social media to post photos, share stuff and just like “tweet” their thoughts. Nothing can be more dangerous than “tweeting your thoughts” when you are any age, really.
For the younger folks, my focus is always on being professional and youthful. I found this really made an impact at a recent speaking engagement to both the youth and some of the parents that were in the room. The idea is to balance the art of social media in being a kid while also thinking about professionalism or little ways you can use social media to stand out.
I am working on compiling this information in chapter 5 of my new book The Book on Career Readiness and it is a tricky thing to do and to present. So many of our youth use social media as though it is an online diary or something “safe” to share everything. I counter that it is best to use social media through the thought process of who else will look at this? Will it cost me a job in a few years? Will it go viral and make me look bad?
This is how I process my social media decisions, too. Of course, I am an “old” though and not a native user of social media. For many tweens, teens and young adults today they have been using social media since they were super young or had been put on social media by family and friends before they could do it themselves. There has to be a balance between sharing and being exposed. Identifying that balance should be done with parents and child but many times the parents are not aware of the full social media picture. For when your parents are not aware of your secret YouTube accounts, please set them to private and consider how the youthful hijinks you are doing for “fun” could impact your future job search.
Here are my quick tips on using social media to have “fun” while also being “professional”:
What do you think about youth centered social media advice? Happy hunting!
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Lisa Vento Nielsen