The following is a guest post on guiding your teen’s interest in social media to future career success:
Tweens and teens have a leg up on their parents when it comes to social media. They’re in constant contact with their friends, and always know about the newest applications for sharing music and photos.
However, parents have the upper hand when it comes to knowing how (and how not) to build a career. Even if you’ve never had a nine to five desk job, you know that presentation and experience go a long way toward getting a foot in the door. These days, using social media is a part of that.
Ultimately, just knowing how to use Facebook and Spotify will not a viable job candidate make. Kids who enjoy social media may want to also use it to pursue interests and put them to good use.
Let me say at the outset that, for this to work, the young person must be serious about their interest. A passing fondness for a certain book series or craft fad probably won’t be enough to fuel the work involved.
It’s also important for kids using social media to remember that many of the things they put online will be there forever. It can be a good idea to build a “professional” online presence that is separate from a personal one.
When you notice a serious interest in your tween or teen, and perhaps even the beginnings of a career choice, encourage the child to use the following social media in a new way. Everything from writing to photography to fashion to architecture can be displayed and nurtured through the use of online tools and networks.
Far more than simply a place to quote a favorite musician or actor, Twitter is great for finding communities of like-minded people. Once your tween or teen is following and followed by these people, he or she can share links, ideas, questions and samples of work. The hashtag feature allows for easy searching and tweet categorizing.
Although LinkedIn basically works like a glorified resume, young people can begin using it as soon as they’ve had any job at all. A simple profile that is well written and organized demonstrates ambition, which comes in handy during the hunt for an internship down the road.
Because WordPress offers a huge number of options for the look, layout and functionality of a blog, anyone can use it to build a personal web site of any type. Not only can your tween or teen create an attractive and impressive space to show off talent, but he or she can also refer to it as a sort of portfolio. Writers, photographers, designers, programers, sports enthusiasts, bakers and anyone else can find ways to create content for a fantastic web site.
Targeted Social Networks
A quick Google search for “social networks for musicians/architects/mathematicians/etc” will result in various places your child can share his or her interest with others in the field.
If your tween or teen uses social media this way, they’ll connect with strangers from all parts of the globe. While this is great for supporting and nurturing their passions, it can be a safety concern for parents. It may be wise to provide only an email address for contact information (if any), and perhaps even use a parent’s address rather than their own. Talk to your child about protecting themselves, both for safety and professional reasons.
Your tween or tween most likely knows about most of the above networks already, and may or may not have much interest in them. Still, it’s important for them to understand that people already in the fields use the Internet differently than teenagers. Working in a medium older people understand will make aspiring talent easier to find and learn about.
Spend a little time familiarizing yourself with these sites, and talk to your child about responsible use of social media to maximize on the things they already love. It could put them ahead of the game when the time comes to find that first “grown up” job.
This post was written by Katherine E. Reilly Mitchell who writes for a website providing help for single mothers who need additional assistance. She also maintains a personal blog at humantextuality.com.
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