Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
How can social media help my career? 12/10/2012
The world is changing. Using social media effectively at work is now vital for career progression. But what is the best way to take advantage of the channels available to propel you up the ladder?
Click to jump to section
Link up with LinkedIn
Professional social network LinkedIn now has 150 million users globally, so it’s essential you are using all of its features correctly. Your profile acts as a live CV so make sure you optimise it by adding your relevant skills and experience. Think about the key words a hiring manager might use to search for talent and add these to your summary. And ensure you are connecting with as many people you know to expand your network and visibility. This is perhaps more important than ever for temporary or contract workers – by building up a good pool of contacts can make the chances of securing future assignments that much easier. Join industry related groups – you have the ability to join up to 50 - to further extend your network.
Not only will this put you in touch with fellow professionals, but it will also allow you to comment on discussions and start to be seen as an expert in your field. Follow companies you are interested in working with in the future to see when vacancies in the business become available.
Don’t be a Twit
Although not designed as a professional networking tool, Twitter can prove useful when looking for employment. Follow companies you are interested in working for and consultancies that might be able to help find you work. Expand on your profile so people know who you are and what you do and start engaging with fellow users.
Twitter can also keep you in the loop with regards to upcoming events – and whether it be networking meetings, or career fairs, these will put you in front of the relevant individuals that can assist you with your career now, or in the future.
Take an interest in Pinterest
Pinterest is not a networking platform in the traditional sense as it does not allow direct communication, however we’re seeing increasing numbers of businesses using it to great effect. By creating boards you can demonstrate your knowledge, organisational skills, and creativity to potential employers. Create boards which relate to specific skills-sets you have and use it as a portal to link to any work you may want to showcase – like an online portfolio.
Pinterest is perhaps unlikely to replace Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, but used alongside established channels it has the potential to add real value to your online presence.
BranchOut is the largest professional networking app on Facebook with more than 25 million registered users since its launch just under a year ago. The idea is simple - set up a profile on you current Facebook page to connect with professionals through your extended friend network. When you search for a company on BranchOut, for example, you can see a list of friends and friends-of-friends who work at that company. You can then, in theory, use these inside connections to access new jobs.
As a tool, BranchOut is quite similar to LinkedIn, with the added advantage of having an established network already in place. However it is wise to remember if you use Facebook to find work, keep a close eye on your profile as well as friends and photographs associated with it ensure you maintain your professional reputation. Although in its infancy, we certainly think it’s one to watch!
There is much debate as to whether Google+ is a viable platform for career enhancement. Google’s CEO Larry Page has announced this year that Google+ has crossed over the 170 million user mark, but research suggests that connectivity is perhaps lower than expected. Despite this, you should still spend time completing your profile and adding colleagues, potential employers and professional associations to your circles. By laying the groundwork now, you will be one step ahead of the competition if Google+ is the social medium of choice for a company or professional you wish to engage with. And if its popularity increases, you won’t miss the boat.
Google+ has the real advantage of keeping private and professional contacts separate by segregating them into circles. This enables users to address just one group at a time when posting updates, giving the platform the potential to be an ideal medium for professional connectivity. With a more active user base, Google+ could prove the ideal solution to managing your private and professional online presence – as such it’s certainly worth exploring.
Updating and maintaining social media accounts regularly may seem time consuming and unrewarding. But cultivating and controlling your professional online presence will allow you to demonstrate the skills and attributes potential employers desire - and may just lead to the opportunity you have been looking for.
Robert Bowyer, director, Venn Group
Robert Bowyer, a director at specialist temporary consultancy Venn Group.