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At Pickens Technical College, the Brand Ambassador Program teaches students how to use social media as a tool for finding jobs, improving their professional networks, and avoiding common pitfalls that can ruin their job chances after graduating from PTC. 52% of all employers these days use social media to screen candidates for jobs. Actively managing your social media profiles on all platforms is now a requirement for getting your foot in the door in almost any industry.

Since PTC is all about preparing students for the real world, the world beyond the classroom, its leaders wanted to provide a new advantage to PTC students that will help them find the career they trained for. Social media management and proper engagement is huge factor, now more than ever.

The Brand Ambassador Program is a class offered by volunteers from Encite International, a local Denver integrated marketing firm. Every year, a small group of students learns how to a) avoid losing job opportunities by posting smartly on social media outlets, and b) use social media to create a professional advantage for themselves.

But PTC students learn by doing, so several students, under the tutelage of digital marketing professionals, participate in managing PTC’s Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram accounts to draw more interest to the school and promote its brand on widely-used digital media. They are expected to promote the PTC brand using social media and reach more people utilizing the tools and concepts they learn from people like Adam O’Leary, the President of Encite International and an instructor in the Brand Ambassador program.

PTC student Chris Cooper won recognition for his work on social media on behalf of PTC in 2016. He was named the Brand Ambassador of the Year. Rylee Malle was the runner up and Grace Roll was named third-best Brand Ambassador. In 2017, the program is back and better than ever, with students taking on a bigger role in social media—building real-world experience and skills they can use in their careers beyond PTC in the process.

Managing social media for brands and businesses is a career-building skill that will translate into almost any marketing situation for companies. For students, building their own brand to find work after college is part of the path to a career. Cooper, Malle, Roll, and everyone else in the Brand Ambassador program got a head start in differentiating themselves from their competitors in the job market. With many employers reviewing hundreds of applications, resumes, and cover letters a day for some positions, having a strong social media presence is a huge advantage. It’s at least one reason to not throw an application in the trash.

So sign up for the Brand Ambassador program to learn about how to market yourself on social media the right way, how to draw more interest in a particular brand or business (a marketable skill), and how not to use social media when you’re looking for a job. Peer over the edge of graduation day and start helping yourself today.