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As we dive into the beginning of a new year, many students are looking ahead for career opportunities in the summer, fall, or even winter term. The pandemic has kept us in a corner by limiting our professional opportunities to a dreaded online format. However, you can still use digital platforms to take advantage of this unfamiliar territory and elevate the next steps of your career. Whether you are searching for an internship, part-time job, or just trying to learn a new skill this year, these tips can be the foundation for you to find the best possible opportunities in the professional world!

Join online professional networks

LinkedIn, Generation Hired, Xing, Slack, and even Reddit are all ways to network with professionals in any career path imaginable. Do more than just create a profile. You will gain more by filling out your bio, skills, etc. to the best of your ability. Additionally,  regularly reaching out to your peers and other connections can boost your network. Remember to stand out and be genuine.

Seek out pages & groups that are centered around your desired career

On a more casual level, scrolling through social media to learn new skills, expanding your knowledge, and meeting different people is an ideal option for many college students. Start with keyword searches based on your major/concentration (“marketing,” “data analysis,” “graphic design”) to see what Instagram accounts and Facebook groups seem to offer a comfortable, positive environment with valuable takeaways in the field. Join a handful, then expand or decrease your followings as time goes on.

Attend useful webinars

Webinars and online events can be found on public networking pages, but you might benefit more from personally seeking out these opportunities from companies you hope to work with in the future. When candidates are interviewed for an internship or full-time position, their commitment to the brand can be a factor that pushes them over the top. Jump on these chances and take 1-2 hours out of your day to listen and interact with the presenters; repeat this and make sure to follow up by sending an email and/or interacting with the host’s social media accounts.

Take courses & expand your knowledge

This varies by your field of interest, but there are plenty of free online courses that will teach you skills that can be added to your resume and job applications. These can also provide a wider range of job options, since you will be a versatile candidate. Hootsuite and Google Analytics are popular options that can be valuable to employers. In addition to these courses, general research into the career options, salary projections, and necessary skills will prepare anyone for their self-marketing journey. Search engines are free and easy to use, so head over to Google and find real-world advice and stories that you can’t learn in the classroom.

Work on your personal brand

Your online reputation can quite literally make or break your chance at a dream job. Take the time to comb through your social media to remove any inappropriate posts that your grandmother wouldn’t approve of. To take it a step further, consider starting a blog or working on an Instagram account to showcase your professional knowledge — this is a worthy option for creative individuals who produce art or written pieces.

Nothing will come easily, but working hard to better yourself will produce nothing but beneficial results. Stay competitive, positive, and goal-oriented in your career journey, and everything will fall into place.

Kayla is a sophomore Social Media Theory and Strategy student at Kutztown University. Her interests range from youth activism to the latest beauty trends, so she is always glad to see these topics brought into the online networking world.
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