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22
Oct

Job Search for a Macro Social Worker: Social Media

By Rachel L. West
Advocacy & Community Outreach Consultant

A Recording of the Job Search for a Macro Social Worker webinar is available. Click the here to buy. If you are interested in attending a live session the Job Search for a Macro Social Worker Webinar please go this link and fill out the form. You will receive an invite the next time the webinar is scheduled. 

Using Social Media to Establish Your Macro Social Work Career 

 

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 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. With a bit of know-how and little creativity, it can give you the opportunity to establish your career.

Start Blogging

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.  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.  Not all your tweets have to be original; you can share articles and retweet those you follow. If you go to my account, @poliSW, you can subscribe to my lists. I have two lists of social workers, a list of politics and lists for the US Congress and the NYS legislature. Who you follow should be based on your professional interest.

What I am getting at is that you need to think outside the box. Because of the rough job market candidates cannot rely on 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.

photo credit: erin m via photopin cc

Posted by Rachel L. West

In addition to being the founder of The Political Social Worker blog, I am a consultant. My consulting practice offers advocacy and community outreach solutions to nonprofits, social good organizations, and private practitioners. Additionally, I offer career coaching to macro social work students and professionals.

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