Career Growth

Twitter wasn’t always my favorite social media platform. In fact, if you ask my former colleagues that remain with Conference USA, they may remember how hesitant I was to sign up for the platform and begin to leverage it with the league.

 

I’ll remind you that this was around 2008-09 when people were sending just under 300,000 tweets per day. It was mostly a conversation platform and because I wasn’t familiar with the interface, I didn’t “get it.”

 

However, it didn’t take long for me to come around on its usefulness. I soon saw its business value and I’ve been fairly addicted to Twitter ever since. As most people know, worldwide Twitter usage spikes during prominent events, specifically sporting events, with the World Cup and Super Bowl setting usage records each time an event is held.

 

It can be a communal platform that offers near real-time conversations. Despite these items, Twitter still isn’t as popular universally as some would think, especially among 18-29 year olds. This demographic makes up about 36% of all Twitter users. Compare that to Instagram, where 32% of all internet users are using the platform and a whopping 59% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-29.

 

During my time as an Auburn University adjunct instructor this past fall, students expressed an interest in learning more about Twitter. In the class of 20 public relations students, many felt they weren’t fully aware of how they could leverage the platform as they prepared to enter the “real world.” Most admitted they could see the value, but weren’t sure how to devote the proper time to it.

 

Most people use social media tools in many ways for many reasons and thus there is no “secret sauce” for how to get the most out of Twitter. However during my active usage, I have found many ways to take advantage of the platform during my career. Below is a modified version of my presentation to the class at Auburn.

 

I hope you can take away the following key points and make the most of all Twitter has to offer in order to advance your career.

 

Growing Your Network

It may seem cliché, but in order to further your career you must network, network, NETWORK. Twitter is such a natural way to connect with people because over time you learn more about people’s personal and professional interests. To take that further, you can choose when you want to engage in a conversation and even jump into interesting conversations between other people without it being awkward or inappropriate.

 

There are many great people in my network who I’ve met via Twitter and still mainly interact with them on the platform. I’d argue that these relationships are as “real” as some I’ve had with people I interact with interpersonally each day. Many of the people I spent time interacting with during my recent job search were Twitter connections. Some offered advice while others offered people to contact and organizations to consider in my job search.

 

                 

Keeping Tabs on Things That Interest You

The students really liked hearing that they could make Twitter whatever they wanted it to be. By that I meant you can follow those people, brands or whoever it may be that interests you. It can then serve as a de-facto news aggregate or personal RSS feed. For me personally, I follow many national sports writers, beat writers covering my favorite sports teams, #smsports professionals, marketing professionals, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and more.

 

Whatever field of work you’re in, I’m willing to bet that there is an awesome community of like-minded individuals from it on Twitter. Whether you want to connect with young professionals or journalists and PR professionals, Twitter is the perfect tool for keeping your pulse on what’s going on.

 

                   

Twitter Chats

My final item is more of a mini listicle. Another great way to expand your network on Twitter and use it to advance your career is to follow Twitter chats. While chats typically take place once a week or month, by participating you are able to find individuals to follow and engage with over time. Here are a few chats to get you started:

 

  • #U30Pro: Focuses on issues and trends surrounding young professionals. Hosted by @u30pro. (Thursdays at 8pm ET)
  • #Jobhuntchat: Focuses on advice, issues and items for those looking for jobs. Hosted by HR professionals with @JobHuntChat. (Mondays at 9pm ET)
  • #ypsportschat: Focuses on current events impacting young athletics PR professionals. Host by @ypsportschat. (Tuesdays at 9pm ET)
  • #internpro: Focuses on young professionals and connects them to mentors and offers career advice. Hosted by @youtern. (Mondays at 8pm ET)
  • #raganchat: Focuses on issue and trends for PR professionals. Hosted by @ragancomms. (Tuesdays at 3pm ET)
  • #simplychat: Focuses on social media trends to help you connect, create and convert. Hosted by @simplymeasured. (Thursdays at 2pm ET)
  • #hootchat: Focuses on social media trending topics for social media and marketing professionals. Hosted by @hootsuite. (Thursdays at 3pm ET)
  • #omcchat: Focuses on advice, issues and items for those looking for jobs. Hosted by HR professionals with @OmChat. (Fridays 12pm ET)
  • #journchat: Conversation between journalists, bloggers and public relations folks. (Mondays at 8pm EST)
  • #sproutchat: Focuses on digital marketing trends to help you grow your business. Hosted by @sproutsocial. (Wednesdays 3pm ET)

 

                   

Twitter can be many things for many people. If you consider the above tips, is can be a social media platform that helps you advance your career. Always remember, you are the brand on Twitter. Therefore, the way you package yourself and interact can determine how it helps you in your career.

 

You’ve got to portray and package yourself as someone that knows your values and what you want to achieve. If you stick to your core objectives and branding, Twitter can be a valuable resource to help you advance your career. In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to just have fun on social media or use its full potential to help you advance your career in ways you never thought possible.

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Career Growth

This article was originally posted for Front Office Sports.

 

I’m hoping some of you missed reading my weekly posts because I know I have missed writing them. When I set out to produce content for Front Office Sports while on the job hunt, I wasn’t sure how the partnership would go or if I would have enough content to bring value to all of you.

 

But, I really wanted an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings. Thankfully, Adam was gracious enough to include me as a contributor for FOS as a way to expand my audience, continue writing and to help others. Little did I know along the way, not only I would realize the value in the content I was offering, but I would also meet, network and collaborate with some really great industry professionals.

 

Initially, in my mind, I anticipated I would find a job rather quickly and FOS would be a blip on my radar while I was unemployed. I can tell you now I am glad things didn’t work out that way. Before I get too far into this, I want to let everyone know I will provide some takeaways in this post and I’ll try not to get too sappy.

 

But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t reflect back on my experience writing for FOS. Although my impact may have been minimal, I’m glad I’ve been a small part in helping FOS grow into the leading multi-platform publication and industry resource covering the ever-changing landscape of #sportsbiz.

 

For those that aren’t aware, I recently accepted a role with Aflac at its worldwide headquarters in Columbus, Ga. My fancy title is Digital Marketing and Media Coordinator, and I’ll be a key member of its Digital Marketing team working on lead generation campaigns for its broker and agent segments.

 

As a result, my content production for FOS has slowed considerably. I will no longer have a weekly article, but I hope to contribute from time to time. Before I go, I wanted to share a few “dos and don’ts” I learned on my job search. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m no expert on this subject, but I want to share my experiences in hopes it can help just one person endure a job search or stretch of unemployment.

 

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Don’t Settle

I’ve used a variation of this phrase in my writings, but don’t ever settle for less than you think you are worth. Choose your words and actions wisely. I hinted at getting a job offer pulled in a previous piece and I want to elaborate on that experience. It was a Friday when I was offered the job and I requested to take the weekend to confirm.

 

When I reached out to the hiring manager, I asked a few more clarifying questions and also countered on title and salary. Looking back, I don’t regret taking that action, but I should have handled it differently. The way the company interpreted my counter is obviously why the offer was pulled and it really stung my confidence.

 

I caution you to ask all the appropriate questions during the interview and offering process. Be mindful of your tone and actions. But, don’t ever settle. If you feel you are worth more than they are offering, don’t be afraid to walk away.

Stay Positive

I must be honest here. I don’t possess some magic elixir or potion that will help you to remain positive during tough times. But, I can tell you that positivity is a choice. 

 

YOU ultimately control your attitude each day and how you will react and handle situations. You can’t allow your hardship(s) to get you down. Use your support system, use your writing, use prayer. Heck, use whatever it takes to remain positive. 

 

It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to in your mind, has power over you, if you allow it.

 

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Find An Outlet

By outlet I mean something to occupy your time that you enjoy. For me it was both creating content and working out. When you’re married to a personal trainer, it’s kind of hard to not be dragged to the gym when you have extra time in your day. To my surprise, and to her delight, I really liked and began needing that outlet.

 

She designed programs for me that were just enough work to see results, but not so hard that I’d lose interest. The time also helped me clear my head of any negative thoughts and better align the positive thoughts I had around creating content, connecting and looking for my next opportunity. For you this may be drawing, journaling, swimming, horseback riding, or whatever. If this outlet helps you stay positive, do it.

 

Network, Network, Network

I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am currently without the help and support of my network. This includes your core connections and acquaintances as well as your lost connections. Leverage all of those people who have impacted your career.

 

Don’t ask much from them either! Call them to catch up, call them to spill your guts, call them to seek their opinions. Don’t immediately ask them for a job or for help. Use them to gain a new perspective on your approach and to seek guidance. During these conversations, opportunities will arise and you’ll eventually get your chance to ask for help.

 

Keeping in touch with this support system and showing thanks and gratitude to these individuals will get you through any tough time that you may face. I want to leave you with a quote from Matthew Kelly. Kelly is the founder of Dynamic Catholic and his book Resisting Happiness truly changed my life.

 

No matter your denomination, I urge you to read this book and learn about how you can overcome resistance to become the best version of yourself. I used a lot of his principles to help guide me during my job search, and I believe they can help anyone when faced with adversity.

 

Life is messy, but nobody can take your hope from you. And if there is one thing that resistance hates, it is hope. So hold onto your hope no matter how messy life gets, and share it with everyone that crosses your path.”

 

I always remained hopeful and I incorporated FOS content as a platform to share it with more people than I ever could have imagined. I can’t thank Adam and Co. enough for this opportunity. I look forward to being able to contribute content in the future.

 

Until then, be hopeful my friends and try to share that hope with everyone that crosses your path.

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