Last time my blog was quite a DOWNER! Most of us are very aware of the changes in employment opportunities for counselors and counselor-educators. Many of us have been affected directly by these changes. I guess it is just in my nature to always be looking for the opportunities that exist in any situation (good or not so good). Perhaps that is what has carried me through in this field for over 17 years. Here are a few options that exist in our “brave new world”; options that might give way to opportunities for you to broaden your horizons and make a better than decent living in 2010. Many of these things did not exist even five years ago, and more are being developed and introduced to us every day.
I thought I’d write about four of the options that quickly come to mind:
Online Counseling Services
Online Training & Education Options
The “New & Improved” Private Practice
FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogster, Classmases.com, Live.Journal, MyLife, MySpace, Ning, and the list goes on and on. You may choose not to participate, but rest assured, your colleagues are there! Sure, we can get our knickers in a knot about privacy and the therapeutic implications of our public presence and choose not to participate. Rest assured however, that (good or bad), social networking is how many people are meeting, communicating, and doing business in 2010.
You may be “out there” without even knowing it! How many of us can be found on RateMyProfessors.com or RateMyTreatment.com? How many of us can be found as the subject of some obscure blog in cyberspace?
So… we can stand steadfast and try to slay the beast, or… we can find out how to make Social Networking work to our advantage. There’s got to be some benefit – something good that can come of this multi-million dollar international obsession!
Here are five tips with regard to Social Networking:
1.If you do put yourself on FaceBook, MySpace or any other social networking site, do so as a professional. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your students or your clients will never find you (or that you can block them from your content). You are a Professional, and your responsibility is to present yourself as such on the web as you would in any other aspect of your life. Many employers search FaceBook before contacting a prospective employee for a job interview. Don’t blow it before you get the chance to introduce yourself!
2.For goodness sake – GOOGLE yourself! Don’t be the last to know what about you is in plain sight for all to see! If you find erroneous information or disparaging postings, do what you must to remove them. Most reputable sites will work with you on this. You might have to toughen up though and accept that the more successful (published, cited, sought after) you become, the more you are open game for anyone who might be jealous or angry with you.
3.Social networking sites can be a great way to get your name out there! If you have a private practice or a business that you would like to promote, you might want to consider doing so on some of these sites. A key “tweet” or comment on FaceBook might provide helpful information to thousands of people and drive lots of potential clients/customers to your website! Posting your resume on LinkedIn might give you the break you’ve been waiting for.
4.Use Social Networking sites to look for jobs or to connect with people from your past or in your profession who might be helpful to your job search. You can reach so many more people with less effort through social networking than face-to-face meetings with folks. Clearly, there is room for both strategies when you are trying to connect with as many people as possible
5.Use Social Networking to stay in touch with what is really going on in your professional organizations and related groups all over the country. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn with just a few minutes of surfing the Social Networking sites. You can find out about workshops, trainings, conferences, and so much more just by reading some of the posts on the pages run by the ACA, APA and other organizations. You can “meet” key people, and get involved in things that might seem more “do-able” in your schedule if you know that you can do it online!
Deborah Legge is a counselor in private practice and an assistant professor at Medaille College. She specializes in coaching counselors in private practice and is the founder of InfluentialTherapist.com