How often do you publish updates on yourself and what is going on with your career on social media? You might wonder if it is often enough and maybe you are not sure if it’s even necessary. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s necessary!
You may not currently be doing a job search, but it’s likely that you will someday. We spend some 45 years in the working world and just about everyone ends up between jobs at some point in time, regardless of the reason. When is the last time you touched base with your references? Do you wait until you are looking for a job to re-establish contact? Do they have any idea what skills or certifications you have added since you last saw or worked with them? They would if they were in your online network and you were providing regular updates.
Just imagine for a moment this scenario. You hear about a job posting. You vaguely recall that two of your former co-workers are between jobs. You have known them both for ten years. One of them hasn’t talked to you since she left that job, although now she is reaching out for a reference. You are not connected on social media and haven’t kept up with anything going on with her career over the last decade. The second one, on the other hand, friended you on social media, engages with your posts and has posted regularly over the years with updates in her career (such as becoming a Certified Administrative Professional, getting certified in Microsoft Office, being involved with her professional association, etc.).
Who would be more likely to come to mind first with that new job posting you just heard about? Who would you feel “better” about recommending? Most likely, the person who has kept in touch with you over the years and who has kept you updated on all the new skills they have added to their repertoire.
Online networks are really about the long-term relationships that you are building. Each time you post an update or interact with someone on their feed, people learn more about you. They are not only adding more knowledge of you to their long-term memory banks, they are also getting regular reminders that you exist! Long-term relationships need nurturing, or they wither away. Acquaintances will feel more and more like they “know” you even if they might not. Most of us who spend any amount of time online have become friends with people strictly through online communication. If you are involved in forums, it’s quite common to start to develop a feeling of family when people share their day to- day experiences and let others get a glimpse into their lives. You can get a strong sense of their personality, their likes and dislikes, and their opinions.
Finally, never having any updates to share should be a huge red flag to you about your professional development. If there is really NOTHING that you have to share about your professional life, then quite possibly your career is stagnating. And that can be very dangerous in an unexpected job loss situation. If you could copy and paste your self-assessment year after year and only need to change the date, you might be in a rut!
We all know that we should be more active on social media, but let’s face it. It’s HARD to think of ideas for what to post, especially for admins who are not always comfortable blowing their own horns or shining the spotlight on their accomplishments! Never fear! This article will provide you with ideas for different social media posts to help streamline the process for you. Here are twenty topics to get you started:
- Projects You Are Currently Working On Clearly you can’t share confidential details of projects that you are working on, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t let the world know about general projects you are responsible for. Consider posting things like “excited to be on the committee to plan our company’s Administrative Professional Week event” or “looking forward to learning more about Kronos, now that I am on the committee that will be rolling out this new software at work”.
- Useful computer tips you have learned If you come across a fantastic computer tip that will save you time and effort, share it with others! You could post a link to an educational article or video or just type up the tip yourself. This positions you as a resource for useful information and it never hurts to be the go-to person in your company or professional circle when it comes to knowledge!
- Great resources you have come across Perhaps you came across a free Kindle book offer for a fantastic self-help book that many peers would benefit from. Or maybe a company is giving away free samples of a very useful business tool that other office professionals would enjoy. Don’t hoard that knowledge. Share it far and wide!
- Involvement with a professional association Do you belong to a professional association? Information about the organization can be an excellent item to share on social media. You could post general information about the organization itself, along with a link to the About Us or Membership site.
- Sharing something you learned at that meeting You could express excitement about attending an upcoming meeting of that professional association (sharing that link as well). You could share some of the more useful tidbits of information you picked up during one of the meetings or perhaps promote a vendor that sponsored the meeting. You could call out the featured speaker of a program at one of the meetings that you attended. This helps to forge relationships with others and establish you as someone connected in the community.
- Running for office in your association If you decide to run for office in your professional association, you’ll want to announce that. If you’re not allowed to announce candidacy, at least announce if you get elected into a role. Consider this with any organization that you serve – whether a homeowner’s association or a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or some other body. This demonstrates your leadership skills and initiative.
- Going to a company training event If your company provides training, whether onsite or offsite, consider posting about this on your social media. You could indicate that you are looking forward to attending a particular class, comment on how fortunate you are that you work for a company that supports training and share some of the tips that you acquire during the training class. This is an opportunity to express gratitude for what your company offers, and it provides people with a positive online interaction with you.
- Studying/Registering for a certification exam It can be a little terrifying to share that you are planning to sit for a certification exam. After all, what if you fail? Then everyone will know it, right? Well, yes, in theory that’s true, but there are real advantages to sharing this information with others. First of all, it gives people a chance to support you and feel vested in your success. Secondly, it inspires others to consider doing the same thing. Third, it highlights your confidence, desire to keep your skills cutting edge, and ability to learn new things and adapt to change. Why wouldn’t you want the world to know about that? Even if the worst case scenario resulted and you didn’t pass, sharing that experience and going for it again allows others to see that while you aren’t perfect, you are persistent, and that you have the discipline and follow-through to achieve your goals no matter what obstacles you encounter.
- Passing a certification test Clearly, it’s easy to imagine posting when you have acquired a new certification. Who doesn’t like sharing success stories? Letting others know that you have passed a certification that you were seeking reminds them that you are an expert in your field and that you are regularly seeking knowledge and validation of your skillset. It also provides independent thirdparty verification that you have the skills you claim to have. This can be a powerful advantage during a job interview process.
- Recommending a career-related book you have recently read Providing a recommendation for a career related book can demonstrate that you are always learning and always seeking to improve yourself. It also shows that you share your knowledge with others and act in a mentoring role to try to help others to advance their career as well.
- Asking Questions Why not reach out on social media to ask questions and start discussions among your followers? Think of something fun or provocative or thought provoking. Perhaps set up a weekly Thinking Thursday thread where you post a new question every week?
- Sharing humorous or inspirational memes There’s a reason that humorous and inspirational memes are so popular online. People enjoy getting a break in their day and they like to have a reminder to smile. Sharing something that made you laugh or that inspired you can help others to connect with you emotionally and see that you are approachable.
- Seeking recommendations A great way to reach out to others in your social networks is to ask for recommendations. Make requests for new restaurants, themes for parties, and ideas for company morale-building events. The wisdom of crowds allows you to greatly expand your imagination and come up with fresh new ideas that might just make you look completely brilliant on the job.
- Being nominated for or receiving an award While it may feel uncomfortable to blow your own horn by announcing that you have been nominated for or received an award, this is not an opportunity you want to miss. You can certainly do so in a humble way, by stating how honored you are that you were selected for a certain award, by thanking the person who nominated you, by sharing your excitement at being selected. This adds to your credibility in the workplace and serves as a fresh reminder to your references that you are a person worthy of being recommended.
- Reading articles of a professional nature If you come across a particularly relevant article for your profession, be sure to share it with your social media followers. Don’t just share the link. Also explain why it struck a nerve with you and why you are sharing it. This is yet another way to show that you are always looking to improve yourself and learn more.
- Writing an article Were you inspired to write an article of your own, either for an internal publication like a company newsletter or for something external like a magazine or website? You might not be able to share the article itself, if internal, but you can certainly share that you wrote an article and what the topic was. Sharing your knowledge in this way can be eye opening. It allows your employer to see you in a different light, it lets your network see a new side of your skillset (the ability to communicate and disseminate information) and it can open the door to new opportunities in the workplace or marketplace.
- Presenting a lunch and learn program to your coworkers In the same way that writing an article can expose new depths of your skills to others, teaching can also shine a light on your communication skills. Share with your network that after you attended a conference or seminar, you then provided a lunch and learn program for your coworkers to learn about the great tips that you picked up. This gives a glimpse into your personality, creates a positive impression and reinforces that you are a team player who puts the good of the company before your own personal benefits.
- Demonstrating your skills If you are planning a meeting or creating a budget or doing any of the other myriad specialized skill tasks that you are responsible for with your job, take a moment to share one of those experiences with your social media feed. Saying something like “just finished setting up the online registration for an upcoming meeting” is a good way to get people comfortable with your range of skills. In this case, it can demonstrate that you plan ahead and that you are tech savvy. Again, you can’t of course provide anything confidential, but stating the types of tasks that you are doing or the challenges you have overcome (“finally got the printer working after battling the mother of all paper jams!”) can show your tenacity and drive and help people to understand with concrete examples what you do.
- Giving credit Giving credit to someone who helped you with a project or taught you something useful is well worth sharing on social media. Everyone likes a feel-good story, and this is an opportunity to help someone else shine. It also reinforces those team player qualities you have.
- Celebrating success Celebrating success is a great way to end a work week and lets everyone know that things you work on tend to end successfully. This is a useful reputation to cultivate! As you can see, this is just a short list of some of the many ways you can create social media posts that enhance your reputation and build relationships with others. This process will benefit you in completely unexpected ways in the future, I promise you!
About the Author:
Marie Herman, CAP, OM, ACS, MOSM owns MRH Enterprises, LLC and has made her career helping others develop their skills. A master-level Microsoft Office Specialist, Marie is a corporate trainer, an author for Executive Secretary Magazine, and an expert on many computer and professional development topics. She teaches online classes and certification study groups. She has more than two decades of experience as an administrative professional and efficiency consultant.
This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication for administrative professionals. You can get a 30% discount when you subscribe through us. Visit the website at www.executivesecretary.com to find out more or to get your 30% discount email [email protected] and tell them we sent you.