Making Career Connections with Hashtags

by Melissa Venable

Melissa Venable Headshot

You may have noticed the "number" or "pound" symbol (#) followed by a string of numbers and/ or letters, in your social media newsfeeds. If you aren't well versed in the use of these hashtags, now is the time to get started. They are easy to create and they allow you to do more with social media than the basics: posting updates and following accounts. So, what do hashtags do and how can they help you and your clients with career development tasks?



They Connect Us ...... to information and resources: Adding a "#" to the beginning of a string of numbers/letters turns the whole string into a clickable link.

It's a way to pull together, using Twitter for example, all of the tweets in which someone has included the same hashtag.

Think of each hashtag you see as an interactive keyword – click on the hashtag/link and you'll create a list of related posts.



You can even search for a hashtag on Google – try #jobsearch, for example, to find posts on social media as well as other relevant web content.... to events: Professional conferences often create a hashtag that all attendees can use to share what they are learning not only with each other, but also with those who weren't able to be there in person.

This effectively creates a communication backchannel to help promote the event and enhance participant engagement. Follow the #NCDAOrlando hashtag throughout June to access conversations taking place around the National Career Development Association's annual conference.... to conversations: Twitter chats couldn't happen without hashtags.



These live, scheduled discussions happen as a chat moderator tweets question prompts and participants reply with tweets that include the chat hashtag. Find a career chat that fits your calendar and give it a try.... to each other: Looking for ways to find new, interesting people to follow? Or do you want to increase the number of accounts following you?

Searching social media for interesting hashtags, and using event and chat hashtags, allows you to see posts from people you aren't already fol- lowing. When other users search this way they can also find your use of hashtags.



The goal here is discovery beyond what you see in your normal feed. Twitter is my favorite place to use hashtags, but you will also see them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They also have some functionality in YouTube comments, Pinterest pin descriptions, Flickr photos, and Tumblr posts. Consider joining existing networks and conversations via hashtag. And think about how you might create your own hashtags for career events and promotions, job fairs, webinars, and other outreach discussions.



Resources
A Guide to Hashtag Etiquette. Lifehack - http://bit.ly/1xPNId
How to Participate in a Tweet Chat, Janet Fouts - http://bit.ly/1hZBUjj
How to Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Network, SproutSocial –
http://bit.ly/2rFggg3

Hashtag Generator - http://hashtaggenerator.com/