As Sacramento freelance court reporters, you may be asking yourselves if you can use social media as a court reporter and which social media sites are best. Yes, you can (and should) be using social media but be strategic with when, where, and what you post. If we can learn anything from those Harvard students whose admission was rescinded because of inappropriate social media images, it’s that you need to be aware that anyone may be able to see what you put on the internet.
The Harvard Factor
Students thought they were posting in a private group but what they didn’t realize was that just because it was private, didn’t mean it was hidden forever from anyone outside the group. The decision of Harvard to rescind admissions could have far reaching effects not only for the students but for job seeking professionals as well.
LinkedIn for Professionals
If you’re a professional seeking to connect with other career-minded people, LinkedIn is the social media site where you should spend time. (Okay, I get it. We all want to spend time on other sites to see pictures of the nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren. When you’re done over there, check out LinkedIn.) With more than 433 million people registered and 106 million unique monthly visitors, as of the 2016 LinkedIn Report, you’re likely to find individuals and groups focused on freelancing, court reporting, business, and legal fields.
Where to Start
Begin by creating a profile on LinkedIn. Remember it’s not so much a resume as a way to showcase yourself as an expert. There’s no need to go back more than 7-10 years of experience as that is what is likely the most relevant for a prospective client, employer, or agency.
- Follow the guidance provided by LinkedIn when you start your profile.
- Be strategic with who you add as a connection and what you post. If they don’t have a photo or it looks like it could be spam, avoid connecting. Stick with the people you know in industries you’re familiar with or wish to know more about and post information related to being a freelance court reporter.
- Use a professional headshot as your profile picture. Nothing worse than cutting your family out of the summer vacation photo and using that as your professional headshot!
Once you’ve got the basics, ask for recommendations from co-workers, clients, and colleagues. This can all be done through LinkedIn so there’s no need for emailing anyone separately. If you’re tech-minded, add the LinkedIn app to your phone so you can track updates and offer answers to questions in discussion groups.
Not sure where to start connecting? The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) recommends Court Reporting and Closed Captioning, NCRA Members Only, and Certified Legal Video Specialists groups. Connect, ask, and engage on LinkedIn and see where it takes your career as a freelance court reporter!