Anyone on the job market these days knows that it’s commonplace for potential employers to look at your social media profiles. But you need to start thinking about using your social media profiles to your advantage before you send out your first job application. When you do it right, social media for graduate students can help you gain name recognition and influence, which will benefit you when it comes to presenting your research, searching for internships and jobs, and making connections in your field.
Social media for graduate students is most effective when your social media profiles truly reflect your passions, offer consistency, and showcase the great work you’re doing as an emerging scholar and professional. By showing others what you love, you’re going to develop -- organically -- a following of people who have the same interests and ambitions as you.
Here are our suggestions for using your social media profiles to maximize social networking for grad students.
Facebook is a fantastic place to post more in-depth observations and insights about your work and your peers’ work. If you’re savvy about your privacy settings, you can keep your personal posts private, but can set your other posts about work or research to public. That way, if a colleague tries to look you up online, they’ll be able to see all of the posts you’ve set to public and will be able to view your research and experiences (and it also helps build your online cred). The key for grad students to using Facebook effectively is by making sure your private posts really are private.
Facebook is also a great place to source advice from people you’re already connected with. If you’re Facebook friends with other people in your field, chances are they’ll be willing to chime in on the discussion, whether it’s about research methods or just where you should eat when you travel to your next conference.
Instagram’s photo-sharing platform is an ideal place to post great photos of you doing your work, regardless of whether you spend your time in the field, in the library, or in a lab. The key is to capture a moment that showcases what you’re doing and how you’re interacting with the world around you.
Show your followers that you love what you do, and that includes traveling for conferences and research. Remember to tag your photos with hashtags related to each photo—you’ll get a wider audience that way.
Twitter is a the ideal place to quickly gain followers and respect among your peers in your field. Look for hosted Twitter chats in your discipline and join in—it’s the quickest way to find a group of peers and be found by them.
You can spread awareness of your own work by sharing it with that Twitter chat’s hashtag and also share relevant hashtags to spur further discussion.
If you’re attending a conference, pay attention to the designated conference hashtag there, too! Follow it to participate in online discussions, connect with people before and after the conference, and share your thoughts about speakers and the research that they presented.
Snapchat is a less serious social medium, so it’s the perfect platform to show your lighter and sillier side—you can use it to show how much fun you have while you’re working on group projects, how you explore the library stacks, and you can show your excitement when you finally get your data in order for your thesis research.
This is a blog about social media networking for graduate students, so we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a great way to connect professionally with people you do know, as well as people you don’t know (yet). Send them a nice message when you ask to connect, saying why you want to get to know them. Are you in similar fields? Do you want to learn something from them? Did you just see that you have lots of connections in common?
To make yourself stand out on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is as complete as possible. Put up a professional headshot and fill out your work history and other interests so people can see the breadth of your experience. If you’re a UL Lafayette student without a headshot, you can take one for free at the career fair every semester!
LinkedIn social media networking for graduate students will likely require a different approach as you set up your profile and begin to engage. Take a look at a comprehensive summary of dos and don’ts for LinkedIn by Forbes for a good intro.
Remember: Be Yourself!
Use social media to show what you’re passionate about—people will automatically want to follow you if you’re showing the best facets of your graduate school experience. Just remember to be yourself, because authenticity is what people want to see!