This is a new installment in the Job Search for a Macro Social Worker series. This article will explore using social media to establish your community practice career.
If you have not done so, you need to start using technology and social media to advance your career. As I have discussed in past posts the social work profession needs to get over its fear of technology. I believe not doing so is detrimental to the long-term health of the profession. The fact is that social media is fast becoming a part of everyday life and we need to start integrating it into our social work practice. Social media can also be a valuable tool in a difficult job market especially for nonprofits who are often looking for social media community managers and digital producers to help spread awareness for their grassroots campaigns. With a bit of know-how and little creativity it can give you the opportunity to establish your career.
Starting and maintaining a blog can be one of the best ways to show what you know and to establish yourself as a professional. This is the reason I started The Political Social Worker because it is the best resume that I have. You do not need to know how to code or have a big budget to set up a blog.
The Political Social Worker started back in 2012 on the social blogging site Tumblr. I highly recommend using Tumblr if you are a blog novice. It is easy to set up and run. You can also share your post on your Twitter and Facebook page. After a few months on Tumblr, I moved to WordPress.com before becoming self-hosted. If running your own blog doesn’t suit you, think about contributing articles to an established site.
Make the Most of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is good because it will help you see if any of your connections work for or know someone in an organization you are interested in. Make sure you fill out the profile completely. Use a nice professional photo, join some of the discussion forums and contribute to conversations. Tip: Do not lock down your account. You want it public so that you can be found.
Be Active on Twitter
I have also gotten good results from Twitter. If you have a Twitter account that is personal make it private and start a professional one that is public. There are a number of live twitter chats that you can participate in. Social Work Chats by Social Work Helper is a good one, but there are all types of chats; ones for freelance writers, nonprofit consultants, politicos, etc. I suggest participating in ones that are closely aligned with the area you want to work in.
Make sure you tweet about things that are relevant to the career you want to have. So if you want to work in the public policy arena tweet about those issues. Tweet about the causes you care most about and make sure you use #hashtags.
Make sure you post frequently because not all your tweets have to be original. You can share articles and retweet tweets from those you follow such as @swhelpercom. If you go to my account, @poliSW , you can also subscribe to my lists. I have two lists of social workers, a list for politics and lists for the US Congress and the NYS legislature. Who you follow should be based on your professional interest.
If you want to be thought of as an expert in your field, they you need to think outside the box. It’s a tough job market and candidates cannot rely on their resumes alone. You need to find ways to stand out and expose yourself to potential employees. You may want to look into learning more about technology.
A lot of people with tech backgrounds are moving into social justice and campaign work. So to be competitive, we need to know how to use social media in advocacy work and in community outreach. Read up on using social networking sites for fundraising and membership engagement as well as e-advocacy.
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