It’s almost a cliché to say that social media has changed the way people interact with one another but this bears repeating to emphasize the importance that social media has over our lives, especially in the way people now do business, travel therapists included.
On the surface, social media—Facebook and Twitter in particular—help individuals announce themselves to the world. They’re a great tool for letting everyone know what’s going on in one’s life. These days, however, social media is also being used for more than just the expression of ideas and interests to friends and family. They had become effective communication tools for selling products and services.
Travel therapists, whether they know it or not, use social media to constantly sell themselves all the time. Linkedin is obvious since people post their professional resumes there. But even social media that promotes fun and sharing like Facebook and Twitter can affect your career in either positive or negative ways. They can help land you your dream travel assignment or can end up costing you your job.
One of the biggest advantages of building a strong social media presence is that this allows travel therapists such as yourself to connect with an audience made up of colleagues, industry experts and future employers. Forging connections through online networking can lead to travel therapy opportunities you can’t find anywhere else.
That said, what social media have the potential to give, they can also take away, like your job.
It’s all about impressions: how travel therapists are represented in their social media profiles will shape people’s perception of them, whether true or false. So it’s important then to make sure that you don’t put anything online that could hurt your travel therapy career.
There used to be a time when Facebook was all about sharing pictures of all-night partying with friends. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore. It’s common practice now for employers to check candidates’ Facebook accounts before hiring them. So, while you may love that picture of you putting away tequila shots like you’re trying to make a quota, you shouldn’t use it as your profile picture. It might send the wrong impression. Instead, choose a profile picture that’s family-friendly. This goes with your Twitter account as well. While you’re at it, untag pictures that show you in a bad light.
Remember too not to openly criticize or badmouth your current employer. Just because social media gives travel therapists the ability to say things online doesn’t mean they should. Virtual opinions have real life consequences.
Even if your boss is one of the only five people in the universe who don’t have a Facebook account, there’s a big chance that a fellow travel therapist or colleague might see your post and tell on you. Don’t risk it. There is a time and place for griping and it’s not on any social media outlet. In fact, whining too much online about any subject should be avoided. Again, think of the impression your posts may create. Anything negative you say can have an adverse effect on your credibility as a travel therapist and as a professional.
Keep in mind that these days it’s easy to find anything online. What you say through your online personas can get back to bite you in the behind. You’ve read about people getting fired because of comments they made online. Don’t be one of them. Instead, use social media to “sell” your travel therapy career by being courteous to others and by maintaining a professional veneer in all aspects of your virtual social life.