You hear the word “networking” in a positive light most of the time, but think about it: Who are you networking with? If every conversation is gossip or complaining, then it has an effect on the way you think and act. In addition to how it affects you, there’s an effect on how your employer or potential employer perceives your character. It’s true; your online lifestyle can ruin a career opportunity.
But the opposite is also true; the way you interact on social media can create and enhance a career opportunity. One way to do this is by curating who you follow on Twitter. I don’t mean you can’t follow your favorite celebrity, but think about the type of information you are taking in. If you are reading blogs that you find beneficial for your career field, see if the blogger has a Twitter feed and get small chunks of inspiration throughout the day. You could even develop a relationship with that person as you interact.
You’d be surprised at how many online mentoring moments take place when there’s a two-way conversation about more serious topics than who got drunk at the party. Basically, the internet is a tool, and the way you use that tool reveals what you are interested in knowing more about. That’s why a lot of employers are so interested in the online brand of their employees, and it’s not going to change. The type of person you are online is how you might be in a stressful situation at work, and they know it.
If you are not sure who would be good to follow on Twitter, I have a suggestion: the Savvy Intern at YouTern recently came out with their Top 50 Twitter Accounts Job Seekers MUST Follow (2014). I know that this is a good list not because I’m on it but because I follow some of them myself.