API Guest Blogger: Joshua Irons of StudyAbroad.com
Social Media Can Make You More Marketable (if you are careful)
Jessica Pena, a 20-year-old Japanese Studies major from SUNY Postdam in New York studying at Kansai Gaidai in Osaka, Japan, is wise beyond her years. While inadvertent on her part, Jessica has effectively created her own personal brand using the Internet as a platform for her future. To record her experiences while studying abroad, Jessica chose to vlog (video blog) “as a way to share my experiences with others who have the same goals and aspirations.”
She easily demonstrates her expertise in reading and speaking Japanese while also explaining the history and traditions surrounding Japanese culture. Jessica also shares personal reflections on the difficulty adjusting to a new culture followed by her self-described “complete turnaround” that has left her with the feeling she belongs in Japan.
Through vlogging, Jessica exudes cultural awareness, sensitivity and tolerance, and an international perspective―attributes that just happen to be highly valued by hiring managers, according to a survey conducted by Global HR News. Students who study abroad should be mindful that not only friends and family may be accessing their online travel journals. Hiring managers and even graduate school admissions officers are adopting a more holistic approach to their selection process, referencing more than an individual’s resume. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs and other social media tools offer a well-rounded view of an individual and show what a resume does not—communications and analytical skills, leadership qualities, problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and technical savvy.
The question then becomes: How can study abroad students use technology to share their experiences with friends and family while increasing their chances for admission into their graduate school of choice or landing a job in their desired career field? The answer is simple―be authentic. Portray a positive image that aligns with your interests and passions, and know how to best leverage available social media tools.
Every study abroad student is a brand worthy of remark, but Jessica is quick to remind students to remain focused on what is important to them. “Even though you are blogging about your studying abroad adventures as a way to advance your career and educational goals, remember that you are also abroad to grow as a person.” Again…be authentic.