It is crazy to think that in just four weeks, I will graduate with a degree in Health Communications and enter into the “real world”. Just a few years ago, I was a Freshman who had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and now I am getting ready to start my professional career. I am both terrified and ecstatic to see what how my career will unfold. As I think about what my life will be like after college, I can’t help but think of how social media could expand my career even further.
Health communications is such a broad field. However, many jobs within Health Communications involve public relations or advertising. My ideal job would involve working for in the Communications departments in a nonprofit health care organization. I would love to work with the community to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Social media could serve as an educational tool to educate the community about cancer, what they could do to help, and events that the organization will be hosting.
One hard thing that I have already learned is that the job market is tough—especially in Health Communications. While there is a lot you could do with a Health Communications degree–being a patient advocate, pharmaceutical sales, or even public relations for a health care organization–these jobs are very competitive, and many employers like you to have some experience before they will even consider you for the job. Even with the best credentials, there are several others who are just as qualified or perhaps even more qualified than you might be.
Thus, it is crucial to make yourself stand out from the rest, and the way to do this is to establish your online presence. You must “sell” yourself to an employer through your social networks, and one of the best websites for this LinkedIn. With over 200 million users, LinkedIn is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media websites (Reisinger, 2013). LinkedIn allows professionals, strangers, and colleagues alike to connect to another based on common professional interests. Every time that a contact updates a skill or something on their profile, those who are connected to them are made aware of the change through e-mail (Chappell and Griffith, 2012). LinkedIn also provides unique networking opportunities, advice, and mentoring. According to Chappell and Griffith, “My LinkedIn contacts are frequently posting information about tools I can use to improve my knowledge in my field, nearby conferences I can attend to improve my knowledge, and access to webinars, databases and other forums of note” (Chappell and Griffith,2012). Thus, not only does LinkedIn allow you to sell yourself by highlighting your most valuable and unique skills, it gives professionals educational and networking opportunities.
It is also crucial to show potential employers what work you have done, so that they can envision what you could bring to the company. One woman was recently hired because her employers were impressed with her LinkedIn profile, Twitter, and personal blog. Many employers feel that Creating a professional blog that showcases your writing skills, as well as highlighting work you have done will show give potential employers an idea of what your best work and strengths. Using other social media tools, such as Facebook or Twitter, to showcase a personal blog is a great idea because you will gain more exposure. Let employers know that you are out there and they will find you!
As a future Health Communications professional, I know for a fact that I will be using social media—no matter what I do. Whether I choose LinkedIn to market my unique set of skills, or show chase my work in a blog, I know that I will be able to get ahead in my professional career.
Chappell, S., & Griffith, K. (2012). Why you should used LinkedIn more than Facebook or Twitter . In Prof Krg. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from http://www.profkrg.com/why-you-should-use-linkedin-more-than-facebook-or-twitter
Reisinger, D. (2013). LinkedIn now stands at 200 million members. In CNET . Retrieved November 11, 2013, from http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57562972-93/linkedin-now-stands-at-200-million-members/
Silverman, R. E. (2012). No more resumes says some firms. In The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203750404577173031991814896