The average Kenyan spends three hours and 34 minutes each day on social media, according to the Digital 2020 Global Overview Report. On the other hand, 80 per cent of employers are now using social media as a recruitment tool. So how can you turn that time spent scrolling through the sites into an investment for your career?
1. Use it as you would Linkedin
LinkedIn is more of a professional network than a social network, so that is where most people show their professional side. However, there is nothing stopping you from using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in much the same way. Use your official names on all of them, for starters.
You can create a work profile on those sites the same way you do on LinkedIn, and it may catch the eye of potential employers may as they browse social media for potential recruits. Sometimes, however, recruiters will actively go to your specific social media profile to find out what you are all about. A profile that tells them immediately who you are, like including your job title, will help you immensely. Let some of your posts be related to your professional interests and work, and change the privacy settings of such posts to “public” so that even those who don’t follow you on social media can see them. You never know who likes what they see. You also never know who dislikes what they see so be careful what you tweet. Just one tweet or retweet has done irreversible damage to a lot of people’s careers.
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2. Join online job networks
People are increasingly networking online to boost each other’s’ careers. Online career networking groups are great places to spend your time online, rather than mindlessly scrolling through social posts. On Facebook, for example, the networking group Africa’s Leading Ladies has over 384,000 members, all on the platform to network. That is a massive number of eyes you will hardly find elsewhere for you to make yourself visible. You can ask get mentorship, ask questions, get and give advice and exchange ideas with others and get customers for your business. The group has seen many success stories as a result of networking there. Ndung’u Nyoro’s page, which has over 191,000 followers also dedicates Mondays to careers using the hashtag #JobsMonday, where potential employers and employees find each other. Be active on these platforms to increase your chances of being noticed.
3. Get comfortable in front of the camera
Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram and Tiktok content creators are all the rage now. People clearly love watching other people and that is something you should take advantage of. You can use these sites to have video demonstrations of what you can do and showcase your personality. You can also use your channel to give advice within your niche area of expertise. People who can’t afford consultants on the ground will use your channel for whatever they’re looking for. Consistency and quality content is what will determine if it works for you. Many people have landed lucrative contracts such as speaking engagements and writing projects as a result of their informative channels. Others have gotten lucrative sponsorships for their content. As your channel grows, you can start making money by direct contributions from people who pay to watch exclusive premium content through platforms like Patreon.
4. Be active
Simply being on social media and silently lurking on other people’s posts is not enough. Interact with people. Introversion online often works to your disadvantage if you are looking to boost your career. Keep yourself on people’s timelines and therefore on their minds. Post a number of times a week, and not just about work. Let your personality shine through by posting things about your hobbies, life, thoughts and so on. Commenting on other people’s posts will not only raise your social media presence, but it will also keep you in people’s minds. This might make all the difference when someone mentions in an informal setting that they are looking for a certain type of person and your name immediately pops in another one’s mind. On the other hand, if you are never in anyone’s mind, you might be the most qualified person but no one remembered you in that crucial moment.
5. Follow career boosting profiles
Follow like-minded people and companies in your area of professional interests. You will stay up to date on changing trends in the industry and you may even discover alternative opportunities within your industry or outside of it. Covid has also brought a lot of educators online, with people going live on social media with free courses. So many people are constantly going live with golden information that we previously didn’t have access to. When online, check who is going live. You may stumble upon information that will be career-altering. Find out more about the people you look up to careerwise as well. What makes them tick, what they have to say, why they do what they do. You will find a wealth of information that will help you in your own career journey.