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Any higher education students (past or present) can tell you that college is an experience that is both challenging and rewarding in ways that are unparalleled. While of course the primary goal of college is to succeed in your assessments and make it to graduation with a degree in your hand and excitement for your future, there really is so much more to the experience. Like your use of social media, for example. But how exactly does social media play into the college experience, and why is it so important that you learn to leverage it to your advantage?

During your college years, you would be forgiven for assuming that your focus should be primarily and solely on assessment deadlines and the like. Of course, this is indeed the primary focus area, but outside of classes, what should you be focusing on? Other than personal time and quality time with loved ones, it actually pays to harness your social media profiles and turn them into the ultimate tools for career diligence. It never hurts to be ahead, but how exactly should you leverage your social media in college?

Create and grow your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the world’s single largest professional virtual network. And believe it or not, it is the number one way that employers will look to find out more about you when considering you for a job. In fact, many job applications these days have a specific link box for you to link your LinkedIn for them to see. If you do not add it, they will likely search your name anyway, just to check, LinkedIn is great because it is essentially the professional iteration of Facebook, only better. You can catalogue your skills, experience, and recommendations in one place, as well as grow and nourish your growing career network.

Ensure that your social media is clean

This one kind of goes without saying, but for the people in the back, it really does pay to make sure that your social media is clean. This means that you should do your best to ensure that whether you buy Instagram followers or earn them the organic way, they do not look spammy, bot-like, or literally bought. The same goes for all the content that is shown of you through social media. It is best to avoid posting overly boozy shots of you on nights out, or go on a tangent about the latest thing that has irritated you online. Be smart and stay clean.

Use social media like a branding strategy

If you have little projects going on your own time outside of college classes and campus, talk about them on your socials (even if it is just via your LinkedIn or through an Instagram page you have made). Use social media like a branding strategy. It might seem like this is a far cry from what you should be using your spare time for during your college years, but realistically the more experience you have, and that you can showcase online, the more prospective employers are likely to look at you when they are searching for the next best thing in the industry. So, treat your socials like a branding strategy; be upfront, be bold, be consistent.