Today there are tons of tools and services available to help you get started on a career path, meet professionals, learn from people with similar interests, and find a great job. You never know when an online contact may be your next boss!
It's important to figure out what you want in a career. What do you truly love to do? What is important to you? What are your personal goals? What are you doing to reach your goals? When you know the answers to these things, it’s much easier to answer a prospective employer.
Once you have ideas about what you would enjoy doing or could be good at, Hinds Community College offers an awesome online tool to help you research specific jobs or career fields. Career Coach at Hinds CC provides salary information, the employment forecast (are jobs going to be available?) and education requirements for these jobs. It also shows what jobs are currently available in our area.
Career Coach is very easy to use, but there is a video tutorial and a printable guide to help you get started on the Hinds CC website. Enter a job that you're interested in and Career Coach will help you hit the ground running.
Here are a few more tips for using the internet to market yourself and your skills online.
#1 Remember that with the communication tools available today, the world is at your fingertips and you MUST clean up your act online. What will potential employers think when they Google your name and find the flame war you started about the company where you last worked. Just remember, you are not invisable on the internet. When you share information about yourself, you share it wih EVERYONE…including the HR professionals in charge of hiring someone for your dream job. They WILL google you and make sure you aren’t acting crazy on facebook, have an innapropriate twitter handle, or are sharing information about the clients who have trusted you with their privacy. Photographic evidence of poor choices will cost you a job. If you’ve been lax with your online reputation, work hard to clean up your online image.
#2 Create a Twitter Account. If you have an account that you tweet messages to your friends about funny things your cat has done, create a NEW twitter account for professional affairs. If you are wanting a job in Public Relations, Nursing, Architecture or whatever- search for that and things related to your field. Follow people, learn, create content to share, and meet people with shared interests. Show that you're an asset to your professional field and all sorts of doors may open.
#3 Create a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is different than other social networking sites. You can write all you want about being in love and post pictures of your newest piercing on Facebook (assuming you have decent privacy settings so everyone in the world can’t see your goofiness)….but that's not the thing to do on LinkedIn. Think of LinkedIn as a stage for your professional self. How do you want your profile to look if it finds its way in front of executives looking for talented people to fill vacancies that they may never even advertise. If you are a new graduate, you can visit http://grads.linkedin.com/
Here is a video to give you an idea of what it’s about & how to create a profile:
Once you join LinkedIn:
A. Create a professional looking profile. If you have never had a job, include volunteer work, organizations you belong to, etc. Be authentic, don't exaggerate your skills or experience.
B. Search for Contacts you already know using the search function. You can also have LinkedIn use your email contacts to search for you. If you find someone you know, ask them to be a contact. Be smart about who you add.
C. Join Groups! This is really important because it will get you jobs! It’s not the joining the group that does the magic; it’s your PARTICIPATION in groups. Share information, ask questions, get to know people in your groups and add them as contacts. Answer questions you know when people ask. If you become someone that people go to for answers, you become someone they would recommend to an employer or a contact that they know who may be looking to hire someone just like YOU.
The LinkedIn YouTube channel is a great place to get any help you need.
When you engage in professional social networking, you will learn a ton of information and have the opportunity to market yourself and keep your communication & other professional skills sharp. Keep your profile up to date, visit and converse with network contacts & groups regularly. You will begin to accrue recommendations. When you believe you deserve a recommendation from someone, ask them.
#4 Hinds students - Remember that you have the Career Services Center to help you! The Career Services Center can provide employment opportunities, help with resume writing, preparation for interviews and more. Make sure to check their page out. They can also assist with the information you choose to add to your LinkedIn profile. For more information, contact Iyanna Colly at 601.857.3499.