In an age of advancing technology, there has been an increase in social media networking among Generation Z and millennials, bringing about an untraditional route of connecting with professionals.
Many students around the country and at the University of Rhode Island have made professional Twitter and Instagram accounts, whether it be dedicated solely to something such as for photography or broadly for their personal networking.
Using social media as a tool for networking can be useful to connect with future employers, giving them the ability to synthesize information about you as a person and possible employee without the traditional resume form.
On the College of Business’s annual Career Day, professionals from local and national businesses hosted a panel to talk with students about their industry and ways to connect with leaders. Bryce McGillivray, a URI alumna and founder of Fifth & Ninth, spoke about social media as a form of networking and using social media as a way to positively stand apart from applicants.
McGillivray, who graduated in 2014, said that all throughout her college experience, she and her peers were told to make all of her social media accounts private and never let an employee see what one is doing in their personal life outside of work.
However, as the CEO of her company, McGillivray revealed to students that when looking for interns, one of her main qualifications is that they have a strong presence of social media and that their social media profiles have a strong sense of their personal self aesthetic.
Through seeing what, how, when, where and why applicants are posting and how they are interacting with their followers is insightful to McGillivray and influences her decisions to hire students.
McGillivray stated that in the world of e-commerce, which Fifth & Ninth rely heavily on, social media helps networking, branding and marketing for her company, and she has to see that her employees understand social media.
Senior Chantel Ramos said that although she does not personally use social media for networking, she believes that it can be a great tool.
“I feel as though social media is a useful networking tool, one of my friends actually started a non-profit organization that helps local artists in Providence and Pawtucket and she finds her artists through social media,” Ramos said. “So basically my friend’s organization would not be sustainable without networking through social media.”
On the other hand, junior Jack Piscitelli believes that there are more negatives than positives that come with networking through social media.
“I think social media being a form of networking is a bad idea unless you have a different account for personal and professional use since people say things and post things they may learn to regret later of even be a different person than when they posted that which can hurt them in their job uses that as a criteria,” Piscitelli said.
Agreeing with Piscitelli, junior Lexi DelPico stated that young adults can have a difficult time making decisions on that is professional and appropriate for their social media, making it a negative concept.
“Social media is so prevalent now, and I think people have a hard time filtering what they say which can hurt them in the job search,” DelPico said.
While students agree that there are both positives and negatives to having social media and having professional accounts to use for networking, most students use some form of social media in some way or another, even if it’s just for their personal enjoyment.