When you're trying to build your career, social media can be one of the best tools to help you find new opportunities and increase your personal brand. Right now, there seems to be a huge digital divide between job seekers.
On one side, you have the group of people who typically haven't had to look for a job in at least a decade. They hold tightly to the job search strategies of the past, like listing every job they've ever had on their resume and believing that they need to “beat the streets” to find work. This group uses email and online job boards, but they shy away from really creating a professional identity on social media sites.
On the other side of the divide, there are the workers who have been looking for a job for some time or who have found and lost a couple of jobs in the past 5 years. These job seekers are savvy about creating their social media presence, developing their personal brand and marketing their skills in a way that makes their resume an advertisement, rather than a biography.
Unfortunately, members of the first group are having a much harder time finding work. When I've asked people why they didn't have a cohesive personal brand, most said that they never really got the hang of social networking sites. Even though they saw the clear value in doing it, they didn't know how to make it work for them.
For those who haven't used social media (and those who want to tweak their social media usage), here are a few tips that will have you networking and making connections.
Make your profile interesting and relevant – Whether you're using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you'll be given space to write your profile. It's usually one of the first steps in setting up your account and not surprisingly, it's the part that stops most users. It's hard to know what to write and many people find writing about themselves to be a painful process. LinkedIn's is geared more toward a professional platform that allows people to write their career story. We all have one so think about your career progress, your education and every career accomplishment you've made along the way. When you really think about them, you'll see how you've been moving forward and furthering your own goal. Once you find your unique voice, writing your profile becomes easier. Facebook and Twitter are more of a streamlined platform of communication but just the same, they need to have a good profile developed that represents you in the best light.
Get involved in the conversation – Find companies in your industry and connect with them on LinkedIn. Add them to your contacts, follow them or like their page on Facebook, which will also get you connected. It's also a good idea to follow industry related publications, bloggers and even industry leaders. This will ensure that you hear about new and interesting changes in your field before others. Having cutting edge information makes it so much easier for you to do the next step.
Share thoughtfully – If you share information that is interesting and of value to others, you'll begin to develop a reputation as a valuable resource. The people that you've connected with will look forward to your posts and will be more likely to make comments about them. This will allow you to get more involved in conversations and will lead to people trying to connect with you, which will expand your network and look impressive to a potential employer.
Also, you should not let your personal views get in the way of your career development. That means that you don't want to share graphics and anything that isn't professional on your profile. Everyday, I see people doing this and it can really ruin your image in the eyes of a potential employer. More often employers are searching social media sites of candidates to get a pulse on what they think and do socially. You don't want any information to look unprofessional and for that reason, it is important to have a separate social media profile for your personal life especially on Facebook. Keep your personal settings for friends only and not to be shared or viewed by the general public. Facebook and Twitter are minefields of thoughtless moments that can really paint the wrong picture if you aren't on top of what you put out there.
Have a clear strategy – Set aside time each day to work on your social media accounts. Spend one day looking for new connections and reading blogs and another day for posting. Not scheduling your tasks will make it much more likely that you'll network in fits and starts, which will make it more difficult to build a good reputation. If you make it a priority and take things slow, you'll be able to build your social network without getting overwhelmed.
Make social media part of your job search. Expand your knowledge and enlighten your mind with the tools you need to excel in your life! Work with a Business and Life Management Coach with over 20 years’ experience empowering people to attain self-defined success in their professional & personal lives. Book a free session at www.denisedema.com today.