Earlier this month, our Lifestyle Editor Erin Street shared her digital wisdom at Momentum’s biennial women’s leadership conference.

Momentum is a program dedicated to broadening the opportunities for aspiring executive women in the Birmingham community. Since forming in 2002, Momentum has helped develop their members’ leadership skills and increased their numbers, effectiveness, and visibility.

Erin was joined by three other talented and successful panelists: Jill Deer, Tracy Morant Adams, and Cathy Sloss Jones. And because Erin’s advice applies directly to our industry, we thought we’d share our five biggest takeaways from her talk:

1. Your online identity always tells a story, i.e. even if you aren’t paying attention, other people are

The first thing I do as a manager when I see someone or am interested in someone and see their résumé, I look online. I look at their Twitter. I look at their Facebook. I look at their Instagram. I look at their LinkedIn. How are they portraying themselves?

2. Never underestimate the power of social media to connect with people, keeping in mind that old-school networking courtesies still apply

Social media shifts the conventional networking paradigm. (See: glass bowls filled with business cards.)

Don’t be shy about reaching out to people you want to know and learn from via social media. But don’t forget tried and true relationship-building. When someone takes the time to respond, follow up. Be thoughtful about building relationships. For instance, if you’re asking for advice, think about how you could help that person out too. Be authentic, be confident, be kind.

3. You are always networking

The beautiful thing about social media is that it offers us unprecedented access. Whenever possible, take those newfound connections from the Interwebs to real life.

But don’t forget about the power of connection in your workplace, in your communities, and with the people you meet every day. Also, in this digital age, handwritten notes stand out more than ever. Write them. 

4. Thinking about a job change? Look beyond the postings.

You never know what job is going to exist because things are changing so quickly. The job I have today didn’t exist a year ago.

Be open-minded and open to change. It’s coming and you need to evolve with it.

5. Be a champion of others

You’re always sharing the great work of people and work you admire, right? One of the best things about social media is that it lets you easily do that. Shine that spotlight because you are interested in the work, not because you feel like retweeting something that will gain favor.