How Engaging on Social Media Got Me a Job
So next week I will be starting a new position at the ELLICSR Health, Wellness, and Cancer Survivorship Centre at Princess Margret Hospital. Today I will not be talking about the position itself, but rather on how the few hours I spend online every day got me this job.
On 18 April 2011 I joined Twitter, after a few years of skepticism over the possible value of information exchange in 140 characters. As I was building my online portfolio, I remembered reading a couple of articles about professional communities and healthcare organizations sharing their news and updates via Twitter. This is when the idea of 140 characters became more interesting to me. I realized that it was a great way of getting a daily news summary from the local and international healthcare community. That’s when I decided to join Twitter and I honestly did not see what was coming next.
I started following HIMSS, UHN, Mount Sinai, and of course Canada Health Infoway, among other healthcare organizations. In the first couple of weeks, I was using Twitter to read news only, and sometimes re-tweet. A couple of weeks later, I saw a post by Infoway’s Nicole Filiatrault about #hcsmca’s Tweet chat. The idea intrigued me so I lurked around my first chat on April 28 2011. I was impressed by the diversity of participants and the way the chat took place so I decided to participate. That’s when I changed my role on Twitter from passively listening to actively engaging with other users, mainly the #hcsmca community. One of the first people I engaged with on #hcsmca was Colleen Young, Founder of Healthcare Social Media Canada, and a remarkable community manager.
In late June 2011, I came across a Tweet about a lecture at MaRS that was of interest to me, and a few members of the #hcsmca community were going to be there, so I decided to attend. After the lecture, I spent sometime talking to Colleen & Heather Sinardo from the Canadian Cancer Society. Again, I did not see what was coming next. As we started chatting about work, Colleen mentioned a SharePoint Portal project she was working on with Princess Margret Hospital. Of course my face lit up as soon as I heard SharePoint given my positive experience with the platform (Click here for more details). I shared my experience in SharePoint and provided Colleen with the link to the Projects page on my portfolio which included a written summary of my past work. It was at that time that Colleen asked me if I’d be interested in meeting a project lead to discuss how I could possibly add my skill set to the project team . Of course I said yes which lead to Colleen arranging a meeting with the one of the project leads.
A few months later, after finishing my internship, obtaining my work permit, and going through the official recruitment process, I was hired by the project lead I had met earlier. Now, let’s tie the whole story together.
My engagement on Social Media, specifically Twitter, allowed me to connect with and learn from many remarkable individuals. In addition, connecting with Colleen on Twitter then meeting her in person provided me with a great networking opportunity that allowed me to showcase and market my skills by posting summaries of my past experiences on my online portfolio & blog. This all helped me land the position and I couldn’t be more excited to start. While I have the right skill set for the position, had I not decided to open a Twitter account and engage on social media professionally, I wouldn’t have had such an opportunity, and more importantly, I would’ve missed out on the great weekly chats on Twitter, which in a way, I found them to be more valuable than my classes at school.
Last week, one of the topics discussed during the #hcsmca chat was “How can we use Social Media to recruit healthcare workers?”. I highly recommend reading the transcript of the chat for those who missed it.
I would like to end this blog post by advising my fellow students to be more active in their respective online communities. Specialized Online Communities provide a great learning opportunity outside the classroom. You get to engage with experts from the field, and every now and then, have one-on-one conversations with them. This is not always possible in the classic classroom setting. Moreover, online communities provide you with access to a large number of employers, many of which are using Social Media not only to post new job vacancies, but also to evaluate potential candidates. This is why students need to work on improving their Digital Footprint as it will increase their chances of getting employment. This could include blogging and engaging with professional communities via Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
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