Is social media a waste of time or a valuable networking tool that can help you stand out to potential employers and recruiters?
The answer is "both" - depending on how you use it. If used properly, social media gives you a chance to demonstrate your expertise online and manage your online brand which I’ve written about before.
1. Focus on the 3 major social media channels
Social media and all the options available are overwhelming. But from an employment perspective, the three most important ones to use are:
- Twitter, and
The best way to decide on which three is to look at the industry you’re in and what others use, and decide from there. For example, if you work in the IT industry, you might want to include Google+; if you’re in advertising and design, you might want to include Pinterest.
2. Contribute online editorial content through blogs or online publications
Publishing content via a blog and/or other online publications – such as Motherpedia - is one of the best ways to demonstrate your thoughts on current industry trends.
This allows you to potentially expand your network to an audience outside of your current network, and gives you a published portfolio for others to see. Be sure to include a short bio and contact information, and make sure you publicise your published work and link back to it via your social media network.
3. Tell your story
Don’t just list the jobs you’ve done on a network such as LinkedIn. What makes your career interesting? What have you got to offer? What are your achievements? Try to get the balance right between selling yourself and bragging. I see too many 30-year-olds who think they’ve solved the world’s problems and too many 50-year-olds who sell themselves short.
4. Join relevant groups
If you’ve got time, join relevant groups to your industry. Joining them and not contributing to them is not particularly useful.
5. Merge your analogue and digital networks
I’ve written before about the importance of face-to-face networking. It won’t go away, but after an event, utilise social media to make contact with each person and follow-up if appropriate. This will make it easier to stay connected to acquaintances you’ve met in-person and effectively expand your online network.
6. Google yourself
This is especially important for executives. Both executive recruiters and potential employers are googling you to find out more about you. Check that everything that shows up in your Google search properly represents you and remove anything that does not.