Networking is of course important when you are looking to expand your career horizons. Shaking hands, putting your foot in doors and making contacts are great ways to make sure that potential employers already know who you are before you send in that all-important job application.
However, in 2015, an avenue of networking that is becoming more and more important in the professional strata is that of the social sort. Whilst it’s true that many people see social networks as a source of frivolous timewasting, more and more employers are looking to them to suss out or to head-hunt potential new employees.
This is not to say that online activity is set to replace the traditional methods of searching for employment, rather that it can be used as a way to complement the more tried and tested avenues.
If you want to be taken seriously as a professional person then you need to find ways of leveraging social media to your advantage. And there is definitely a right and a wrong way to do it.
We have decided therefore, out of the goodness of our hearts, to provide you with our guide on how to compliment your career using social media.
When we began talking about using social media to compliment your career. I’m betting your first thought was the ways in which it can be used to promote yourself? Whilst this will certainly be the main thing that you use it for and what we’ll spend the vast majority of this article discussing – there is another key use for social media when it comes to the dreaded job hunt – research.
Employers love it if a potential candidate comes in for an interview and knows something about the company that they claim to want to work for. Whilst company websites can be great for pulling a few interesting facts from, you will likely get far more interesting information from the business’ social media pages.
Not only will the company’s Facebook page be able to tell you about the ins and outs of what it is the company does, its ethos and its mission statement, but it will also allow you to delve much deeper.
You will possibly be able to view photos of company outings which will give you insight into the culture amongst the employees. You will also be able to look at conversations between the company and its customers, to give you an idea about how they deal with complaints and generally how they treat their customers.
Don’t forget that you are not just waiting to see if the company considers you a viable candidate, but also whether they are a good fit for you. In the scramble for jobs people can often overlook this fact and think that they have to accept employment from a company whether it echoes their own personality or not.
Which Networks to Use?
When looking to promote yourself through social media there are four that you really want to be getting to grips with:
When it comes to Facebook, it can be difficult to separate out the waffle from the professional activity. Lots of people (particularly teachers) intentionally misspell their names or use a nickname on their Facebook profiles to prevent them from being searched out from people whom they don’t wish to be discovered by.
However, it is not completely necessary to always go to these lengths. Get into Facebook’s privacy setting to easily control who can see what. For example you can make it so that anyone can see your personal information, whether they are a friend or not. This means that you can put loads of professional information in here (work history, education, skills, location etc.) and any employer will be able to view it.
On the other side of the coin, you can lock down the settings that control who can see your wall posts. This will mean that a potential employer will be able to see all of the good stuff that they need to see and not that picture of you drunk with a traffic cone on your head.
Also make it so that people cannot tag you in posts or post on your wall without your approval. This will further prevent any embarrassing articles from potentially being viewed by the wrong people.
Twitter is great for building relationships fast and is a great source for information and links. You will find that employers often check Twitter for people exhibiting leadership qualities, so make sure that you are discoverable by the right people by putting lots of professional keywords in your bio.
The oft overlooked Google+ may require a lot more work to gain results from than its more popular brethren but it is a key element of ay social media strategy. Not only is its user base more engaged than on other sites, but it is absolutely essential for search engine rankings.
The more active you are on Google+ the more Google Search will love you. And climbing onto those key first two pages of search results could be the difference between discovery and anonymity.
Last but not least is LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become the go to resource for employers looking to hire new talent and you would be an absolute fool to neglect it.
Build a profile that will compliment all of your physical career documents and be sure to set up appropriate keywords to ensure that you can be found when the recruiters come a searching.
Give the Right Impression
We have already delved into some of the ways in which you need to consider the way that you present yourself online. However, things run a little deeper than just hiding the drunken photos.
As the world becomes more and more savvy to the ways in which social media can be leveraged to promote brands and businesses, companies are looking for people who know how to use these platforms in a professional manner.
Therefore, it becomes not just about making sure that your potential employer does not see anything bad about your online, but also making sure that they see you using it in an effective and conscientious way.
Talk enthusiastically about the things that interest you. Share and engage with the posts of others and participate in discussions. Obviously you want to steer clear of any controversial pages or topics, but many employers want to see that you have the skills to use social networks properly.
Oh, and hide the drunken photos.
There you have our top three tips on how to use social media to compliment your career. Please let us know if you have anything that you would like to add and also if social media has ever helped you to land that dream job.
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