Going Social To Build Your Career

Arthur Nguyen is an architecture student at UNL. He says social media helped him get a job shooting video for Husker Athletics. (Photo by Ryan Robertson, KVNO News)
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November 20, 2015 - 6:45am

In the past 10 years, the use of social media has skyrocketed. Around 2 billion people use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In fact, 73% of all adults online today use some form of social media. With the growing number of online interactions, some Nebraskans are using social media to land jobs and build careers.


University of Nebraska-Lincoln architecture student Arthur Nguyen wanted to get a job where he could put his video and photo editing skills to the test. So he made a video capturing the excitement at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on game day.

“I went to the stadium. I didn’t actually have access to the inside, so all of my shots were from the outside,” Nguyen said, “and I just tried to piece together what got people excited about game day.”

Nguyen wasn’t allowed to shoot the video inside the stadium, because he didn’t work for a media organization. But ironically, the reason he made the video was because he wanted to work for a media organization; specifically, Digital Communications for UNL Athletics.

Nguyen had an interview lined up with the appropriate department heads, but he wanted to make an impression. So he put his video on Facebook and shared it with a group called Nebraska Thru the Lens. The group includes almost 90,000 people, most from Nebraska—so it’s probably safe to assume they also cheer for the Huskers.

Nguyen said the people in the Facebook group loved the video. When he sat down for his interview, he discovered that some of the several thousand people who saw it online included his potential coworkers.

“And I found out that they had all watched my video, and I got a lot of great feedback on it and they had a very positive reaction to my work,” Nguyen said, “and I think that’s what led them to actually giving me a job.”

Nguyen said if it weren’t for the positive reaction his video received on social media, he’s not sure he would have landed his new gig.

Jeremy Lipschultz is an Isaacson Professor at UNO's Social Media Lab for Research Engagement. He said social media and mobile devices are fundamentally changing the way people live and work. (Photo by Ryan Robertson, KVNO News)

Social media sites, and the attention they grab, are having an ever increasing impact on modern life. They’ve changed the way advertisers and the media deliver their message, but social media are also changing how people look for and land jobs. At least that’s what Jeremy Lipshultz said. He’s an Isaacson Professor in the Social Media Lab at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

“It is true that there are real, professional advantages to leveraging these platforms,” Lipschultz said, “and when used correctly and appropriately, there are potentially enormous benefits from these uses.”

Globally, around 2 billion people use the internet, and the majority—just under 80 percent—are on social media.

Lipshultz said social media have fundamentally changed the starting point for most jobseekers, because social media is so integrated into our lives now that it’s hard to separate what’s personal and what’s professional.

Lipshultz said there’s no telling what this will mean in 10-15 years. For instance, will it be standard practice that resumes or job applications include links to social media accounts? Will we need to include three video references from past employers?

“We know more about what we’re doing, but as is usually the case with media, social media has followed this pattern—we have a lot more questions now, because of what we know,” Lipschultz said.

Trisha Hughes may be able to help answer some of those questions. Hughes is an online food-blogger based in Omaha. When she and her family moved to Nebraska a few years ago, she was a stay at home mom with few friends. She decided to launch an online food blog and created an account on the photo sharing app Instagram.

Trisha Hughes is a food-blogger based in Omaha. She said the money she makes food-blogging is "enough to support the habit." (Photo by Ryan Robertson, KVNO News)

The account, which Hughes operates under the handle GoEatYourBeats, is about two years old and already has more than 100,000 followers (click here for her website). Food companies also now pay Hughes to use their products and run campaigns on Instagram for them.

This is another big part of the social media world: there are enormous amounts of money to be made.

Hughes isn’t making anywhere near the $600 million Instagram will receive in ad revenue this year, but she is making money. And she’s doing it by cooking food and posting pictures of it online; so you can look at it on your phone while you’re standing in line at the grocery store…or wherever else you look at your phone

Hughes said while she’s not sure where GoEatYourBeats will take her, she knows none of it would have been possible just a few years ago.

“I think it’s sometimes hard to say where do you want to go if maybe that place hasn’t even been found yet for another person, right?” Hughes said, “If you just look at where food-bloggers have come in the past 10 years, food-bloggers are now cook book authors or they get their own TV shows, so I think the sky is the limit.”

The sky may be the limit, but Lipshultz said it’ll still probably be projected through some sort of screen.

“It’s going to be difficult to sort out when we’re in media and when we’re out of media, because it’s already the case that there are these screens everywhere—in an airport, bar, restaurant, on campus—there are these screens and there going all the time,” Lipshultz said.

And with all those screens competing, the new commodity is your attention.

For more stories from KVNO News, visit their website.

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