People use their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media site differently.
For many, this may mean sharing with friends and family stories about their weekend or fun places they have recently visited. Something to consider is that with any professional career, how you present yourself in society can make an impact to the advancement of your career. Often people forget that social media sites, although online, are still projecting an image of you. For this reason, understanding how these sites can help or hurt your career is important as you enter or move along in the paralegal profession.
In the article written by Jeanie Sapp Johnston, she provides information on ways you can utilize social media sites to enhance your career.
The most basic form is for community.
Community is specifically important for a paralegal who may work for a small solo firm who doesn’t have other paralegals to talk to. This can be a great way to network with people in your field and find out ways to improve your job role. You can also use these tools to market yourself and your profession. Maybe you can mention an interesting seminar you attended, a certain accomplishment, or a certificate you have received. However, keep in mind that you are there to build relationships so it’s important that your information varies and that you’re not always talking about your career.
Another way these sites can be beneficial, is to help you find employment.
You can post your resume on sites like LinkedIn. On this site, you can find friends or colleagues and learn what they are doing in their careers. Another way you can find employment is by networking with your alumni group. Find out if they have an online alumni networking site and join that group. Networking with them may provide you with the next big career opportunity.
Lastly, you can build your knowledge by focusing on your education.
Several sites are available where you can attend webinars, teleconferences, and take continuing education courses. For example, Center for Advanced Legal Studies has a Facebook page and is constantly sharing information about paralegal education with their fans. Look up other organizations that offer information about training and courses available in your area and join their Fan page as well. By joining, you will be introduced to many educational sites or online courses that you will find beneficial.
Once you are ready to launch into the social media world, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
- Keep your profile pictures professional. Employers are spending more time “Googling” prospective employees to find more information about them online. Being cautious about your profile photo can possibly land you your next job.
- Be cautious about what you say. If you are not ready to put that sentence in the front page of your local newspaper, than perhaps you should consider how to post it on Facebook. It may not be something that can affect you today, but in the future in can come back to bite you.
Social networking sites are a way to build relationships and communicate with people. The only difference is that you are now sharing your conversations with multiple people at one time. These are not individual conversations and it’s important that you keep that in mind.
Lastly, these tools are used to enhance your ability to communicate with others, but it should not replace face-to-face interactions. Remember to schedule luncheons, attend events, and participate in functions where you can meet people in person and not just online.