Ask an Expert: Samra Bufkins

Samra Bufkins (Photo by Gary Payne)How can you use social media to advance your career?

Job seeking in the digital age can have its advantages and disadvantages. According to Mayborn School of Journalism lecturer Samra Bufkins ('87 M.J.), the power of social media is only increasing. She says that 96 percent of employers check in on employees' social media accounts regularly.

"It's important to present yourself professionally via social media," Bufkins says. "The benefits of a sharp and current digital presence might advance your career, making social media one of the most important business tools today."

Bufkins is the ethics chair for the Dallas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and teaches strategic social media at UNT. Her expertise has been featured in The Guardian, BuzzFeed, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News and she can be followed on Twitter @Samjb. She offers the following tips for professionals:

Build community

  • Engage with your LinkedIn connections. Send congrats, post content and respond to others' posts.
  • Follow the right people. Know who the influencers are in your industry and start a conversation
  • Participate in Twitter chats that feature your interests (for example, entrepreneurship, biochemistry or knitting).
  • Start blogging! This positions you as an expert in your field and helps employers get to know you and topics that you're passionate about.

Be smart

  • Know your audience. Always assume your employer or prospective employer can search your profile, even if it's private.
  • Make separate professional and personal Twitter accounts.
  • Ditch the selfies, bar photos and webcam photos and use professional portraits instead.

Stay current

  • Update and keep up with your LinkedIn page after you've landed the job to maintain and make new connections.
  • Read relevant blogs on sites such as Mashable and LinkedIn Pulse.
  • Join professional organizations, such as the Social Media Club, to learn tips about applying social media to your industry.

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