To celebrate the six-month anniversary of her company, Tracy is giving away three career coaching scholarships. If you are a college student, recent grad or female veteran, apply before the deadline on April 8th
Last year, I opened my career coaching business, The Opportunities Project, to help young professionals meet their career goals quickly and confidently. After almost ten years of recruiting recent college graduates, and 13 years in education, I was becoming discouraged with how higher education was preparing their students for success, working life, and adulthood in the post-recession economy. I felt I could do something about it so I took the leap, received my coach certification and opened up shop!
Based on everything I was reading about Generation Y, and a few candidates I encountered as a recruiter, I believed that I’d be coaching my clients on how to “clean up” their social media presence. After six months of coaching, I’ve found the opposite to be true- I often have to bribe people, especially women, to be active on social media. Some have pre-conceived notions about what it’s all about, that Twitter is nothing more than one million people talking about Justin Bieber. But I’ve found that most avoid social media because they feel that they don’t really have much to say and that’s where they need coaching.
I insist that my clients get active on LinkedIn and Twitter not only because of the networking opportunities, but also because of its power to build confidence and greater self-worth. Here are three things that you will learn on social media that I promise will be empowering for you.
- You will meet really smart and inspiring people, just like you. As a new business owner, I spend a lot of time doing in-person networking. I’ve met some great people at in-person events, but nothing compares to the people I’ve met online and how engaging they are. I’ve found that people who use social media to learn and build relationships are accomplished, intellectually curious and generous. My clients who let their fears go and jump into the online conversation quickly see these characteristics in themselves and are then ready for the great opportunities that come to them.
- You will build meaningful relationships despite your location. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll bond with people over 140 characters or looking at their LinkedIn profile to find things in common. In the last six months, I’ve met mentors, like-minded business partners, and friends. I’ve even hired a virtual marketing consultant. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get to know each other and move the relationship to the phone or Skype. Even if it doesn’t result in a career-changing move, you can’t underestimate the power of knowing more people who mutually understand and appreciate each other, wherever they may be.
- You realize that there is a big, wide world of opportunity out there. When we’ve worked in a place for a long time, or hung out with the same people for years, we get a biased perspective on “jobs” and what’s available to us. Once you join Twitter and LinkedIn, you’ll see that people just as great as you are doing amazing things which will give you new ideas for your career that you never though were possible. Many of them will be open to tell you how they got where they are and give you advice, too, which is a bonus!
So set up your Twitter account today and join one to two chats next week. Complete your LinkedIn profile and contribute to a discussion. The benefits may not come right away, but if you stick with it, you’ll feel like the confident and empowered professional you truly are in no time.
Tracy Brisson is the founder and CEO of The Opportunities Project, an organization that helps young professionals meet their career goals quickly and confidently.