Friday, 28 February 2014

Online networking and employability: My experience

A few months back I used to hear people say “I have a social media account in order to network with other people”. To me this meant hooking up with old school mates and friends, well that is what I saw most people around me doing anyway. So when I thought about getting other social media accounts I felt like what for? I do not want to bug my head with so meaning pass words. To me networking online and selling one’s skills could not be done. With so much content and chatting who will see me and my skills? How will they know the kind of person I am without seeing me face to face?

But later this thought changed as I saw more and more people whom I respected and considered as role models inviting me to join this or that social media and when I checked their profiles it looked so professional and I thought to myself so what do I have to lose?

But the big bang!!! That finally convinced me that networking online and employability were real and serious and not just some farce for people to create more social media accounts  was the ONE course I later got enrolled into as part of my MA programme at the University of Leicester.
When I started the course I was a bit sceptic. I kept asking myself “how do I apply this knowledge in Cameroon. Won’t other professionals laugh at the fact that I was trying to sell my skills on the internet?” Then there was the lecture about having one’s personal brand, I kept on trying to apply all I was taught and imagined if I was an employer what will convince me to employ such a candidate.
The second unit of the course helped answer a lot of questions,  I learnt how to better use the social media tools at my disposal and suddenly saw it less as a chat box and more as an employment tool. I was even more convinced about what I was learning when I was given a chance to pre-select suitable candidates for an internship at my office. Suddenly I saw myself asking questions like; what are his or her skills, strengths or weaknesses? Where are the examples of how he has displayed such skills? Etc. That is when I finally realised that having a brand, marketing one’s self on line was important and it sure works.

So what next? Now I am enjoying the benefits of the course and I am an avid fan for online networking and job searching and it is also paying off. I had interactions with specialists I never knew I could talk to by creating a LinkedIn account and updating my profile, asking questions. It is great. The best of all is that right now I have a mentor who believes in my dream and is guiding me be better at my work and to sell myself better, all thanks to online networking and employability.

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