With the advent of social media (SM), our soon to be graduates have more tools to prove their skill set than ever. When working with students I relate their skills to super powers. Everything they say about themselves on their resume, cover letter and in an interview setting; is a description of their super powers. Everyone has been using the same list of super powers (workplace skills) for eons. I am organized, a team player, detail oriented, punctual (not a super power by the way, a minimum requirement!) creative, etc. Through SM, our students can now prove their superpowers. This is a HR recruiters dream. They now have mechanisms to determine the truth behind a candidates list of claimed super powers.
Imagine if you were having a coffee with Wonder Women. She would tell you about her main super power, the ability to fly. You may say “cool, prove to me you can fly.” If her response was ”Um well… I can’t really show you, it’s just something I tell people.” This may cause you to suspect she can’t fly and thus does not have this superpower. Superpowers on resumes, covers letters, and in interviews are the same, the interviewer is essentially saying “prove you can fly”. Now, through the use of SM platforms, students can provide this proof. Let’s use the Conference Board of Canada list of employability skills as examples to demonstrate how one would prove their claimed super powers.
How relevant is the candidates understanding of their industry? This can be demonstrated through groups they follow, posts to industry tweeter accounts or LinkedIn groups. Candidates can upload documents from work or school assignments to their social media platforms, they can blog, submit articles for publication etc.
By having a strong social media presence, students can demonstrate their use of technical systems and illustrate use of current information management systems. A basic LinkedIn account demonstrates experience with a curated information management system.
Thinking and Problem Solving
If a student has created a dedicated career web page or is a frequent blogger, or created a new innovative presentation, adding this collateral to social media or showcasing it on You Tube will illustrate thinking and problem-solving skills. They have ‘solved’ how to get themselves and their super powers out to the world!
By managing multiple SM platforms, with consistent messaging and professionalism, students can prove they are current in their field and up-to-date on new technologies needed for their career.
Work With Others (Team Player)
Through the use of LinkedIn, students can have written recommendations by fellow team members-outlining their team playing super power.
Participate in Projects and Tasks
Students can demonstrate this superpower by making available through LinkedIn or other SM platforms projects they have completed (and received a reasonable grade for). They can also illustrate their use of different technologies to complete a project and provide feedback they received on their completed projects.
Showcasing Super Powers
Prior to graduation, students can plan to prove their super powers. There are two plans available to them. The basic plan and the advanced plan.
LinkedIn provides the space to attach media to many of the key sections in the platforms. This is the easiest and cheapest (free) way student can use Social Media to prove super powers. Resumes, videos, assignments, links, key words, recommendations are all items that can be used in this platform to prove a superpower.
In Conclusion, for most students, a full basic plan will be more than sufficient. For others, depending on their future career plan, an advanced plan may be a strong consideration. What both plans have in common is a way to prove ones skills (super powers). The skills listed are but a small example of those recruiters read each day. Recruiters read the same list of claimed super powers over and over, in 1000’s of resumes. Social Media has provided our students a mechanism to move beyond the boring list of superpowers, and provide the proof they can fly.
Larry Iles is a Senior Faculty member with the Thompson Rivers University Career Education Department. He has been working with students as a Career Counselor and Co-op Coordinator for 21 years.