That moment when you’re really excited about sharing on social media about your next engagement, and realize later – thanks to a comment on the post – that your brilliant plan backfired a bit.

I was really trying to capture the DATC Program web URL in the image, and didn’t take the time to evaluate the WHOLE picture. The logo poked some fun at me, and punk’d me with its version of bunny ears.

Ah, well. That’s how it goes. Even I get schooled as I grow. And if you can’t have some fun along the way…

DATC Session 14

Tonight, I joined Dental Assistant Training Centers, Inc. in welcoming their 14th session. Eleven students filled the waiting room at Karen D. Barwick & Associates General & Family Dentistry to listen how their lives were going to change during the first half of this year, as they adventured into the dental industry.

My role in the evening was multi-faceted. I helped to explain the need for images, both for program slides at graduation and social media, and introduced the professional photographer on-site that would be taking head shots. I talked through the model release form, and outlined the program’s position on posting to social the names and faces of only those who granted permission. Of course, I handled real-time social media for the program to announce and celebrate orientation as it was happening. And – back to the students – I warned them about my presence throughout the program: “Basically, I am the DATC paparazzi. Get used to me being around taking pictures and video to share online.”

The Program Director, Dr. Karen Barwick, gave me a few minutes to address the students about social media and online reputation. I covered some really basic points to target what they should keep top of mind. The DATC Program attracts students of all ages, and Session 14 is made up of digital natives all the way up to ladies who are looking for a plan after retirement.

Basics to Keep in Mind

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Use Social MEdia Privacy Settings

There’s a reason why social media platforms offer privacy settings. Use them. Especially if you’re the type of person who likes to post edgy pictures and comments, you should consider adjusting those posts to “Friends Only” so that potential employers don’t get distracted with details that probably don’t relate to your ability to bring your A-game to the professional sphere.

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Start Building an Online Reputation

We all use social media to connect with friends and post cat videos. But it’s more than that. Social media gives us an opportunity to start building a reputation about what we’re passionate about. In fact, you’ve already got a reputation – and now it’s time to curate it. Think about how you can tastefully express your passion about learning new dental skills. Build a reputation that will play in your favor when it comes time to applying for jobs!

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Create and Refine your LinkedIn Profile

This program is about getting you to a position within the dental field. Even before you graduate, you could have a position waiting for you – it’s happened to students in previous sessions. Don’t sit on your bum. Be proactive. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn Profile, create one. Fill it out. Connect with individuals in the industry. Share what you’re learning. More and more employers are looking applicants up online before they extend interviews. Make sure you know what they’re going to find!

I really enjoy having the opportunity to talk with DATC students about how they can improve their online reputation. One of the benefits of the program is that they can email me anytime with questions, and I am at liberty to help instruct and train as needed to give them a boost in the online space.

On the last day of classes, I will offer a more in-depth look at ways they can continue to improve their online presence, as they launch into a serious job search.

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