Once you’ve already created your online “brand” using social media, you need to manage and expand your network, and there are a plethora of tips and tools that can make that process easy and efficient. Read on for more advice.

LinkedIn

By far the most business-oriented of the large social media sites, LinkedIn is a network of professionals who connect according to common industry, geography, specialties, career goals, ideas, and more.  Used correctly, it conveys the same information as a good resume and establishes an entire host of relationships that cannot be targeted using traditional job search methods.

See expanded information on our LinkedIn Tipsheet.

Twitter

Twitter is another social networking site that has become immensely popular and while there can be a fair amount of noise, used properly it can be extremely helpful in your job search if you know how to follow and filter. Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ service where posts are limited to 140 characters.  By “following” others on Twitter, you are notified of their “Tweets” as your followers are notified of yours.  These shared messages create a rich network of interconnectivity that benefits everyone involved.

See expanded information on our Twitter Tipsheet.

Blogging

Why Should You Blog?

As you probably know, blogging can be quite time consuming and many people shy away from blogging because of the time commitment. There are a few reasons why you may want to consider blogging as a component of your job search plan.

  • The content and style of what you write is extremely important to your brand. Your brand is WHO YOU ARE and there’s no better way to show that than to put yourself out there and write. Use your blog to establish credibility.
  • Share your perspective on other people’s blogs and articles.
  • Learn to be disciplined. This is a skill that is developing in a blogger and carries over to many aspects of your life. Allow them to see your personality and knowledge behind your online voice.

To blog effectively, you need to refine your experiences, skills and perspective into a coherent ‘blog idea’ that can contribute to your industry of interest in a way that other blogs are not doing. Blogging can be time-consuming, but it isn’t as hard as it looks.  Many blog-hosting services are free and offer a variety of templates and arrangements to provide you with a great design. The content is simple – what do you know?  Simply blogging 2-4 times a week is enough to establish your professional identity and if you get busy for a week or so, you can always ask other professionals/classmates to “guest blog.”

The blogosphere is a community, i.e., its members embrace each other and operate according to principles of shared interests and communication.  So once you have an idea for a blog and begin writing, reach out to your fellow bloggers both within and outside of your subject matter.  Referencing and linking to other bloggers, joining blogging groups, submitting yourself for review and awards – all these things share your name and demonstrate your professional capability.

With regards to job searching, the blog community is the best place to start looking for work.  Often, employees in large companies write “corporate blogs” that have a great deal of interplay with other blogs online.  Establishing a mutual relationship between yourself and a corporate blogger means that you gain a direct connection with an employee at the company where you’d like to work.

Even if you feel that the existing blogs are expansive enough, or if you simply dislike the idea of having to routinely write new posts, the blog world can still be useful.  Many people have established strong online identities based exclusively on commenting on blogs.  Provided you have some sort of personal links attached to your opinions and contributions (e.g. include a link to your LinkedIn profile whenever you make a comment), you can still enjoy the personal branding and collaborative benefits of blogging without the deadlines.

If you plan on strictly being a commenter, create an avatar (Gravatar is a way to create a universal avatar) so that all your comments are associated with your picture and information. 

Facebook

Facebook is certainly known to be largely social and non-professional, but Facebook can also be a great way to intimately connect with people that you have known, worked with, or met.  (One simple way to think about it is that LinkedIn and Twitter are for meeting new connections and Facebook is for staying in touch with the old ones.) 

Remember, when you use Facebook, keep it clean – employers increasingly use sites like Facebook to evaluate prospective employees, and inappropriate content will hurt your chances of getting a job.

Recent changes including Facebook’s “Connections” service have also passively affected your profile’s privacy.  Anything previously listed under “Likes and Interests” on your Info page, such as Interests, Favorite Movies, etc. now links to a specific page for that hobby, band, or film.  Pages associated with this “Like” option (previously known as “Become a Fan”) are inherently public, and common internet searches may reveal your name in association to these pages. 

For more information on the recent Facebook changes, read Kurt Opsahl’s post at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

To see publicly available information from your specific Facebook profile (even though it may appear hidden at facebook.com), visit: http://zesty.ca/facebook/ and enter your public Facebook ID or username.

Industry-Specific Professional Networking Sites

On a scale from social to professional, these are the most strictly professional- and career-oriented of social media resources.  These sites promote the same ideas as LinkedIn, but on a much smaller and single-industry-specific scale.  (Someone looking for a job at a law firm, for example, could join a series of legal-industry-only professional networking sites and get directly to the contacts that he or she needs most.)  These sites might focus you more in one industry, but as a tradeoff, you lose the expansiveness of a full site like LinkedIn.

VisualCV

In VisualCV’s own language, this internet resource aims to “reinvent the way the Internet is used for recruiting, to the benefit of professionals and employers alike.” VisualCV’s focus is on the inclusion of multimedia resources in the creation of a resume that is a live internet document as opposed to a limited, permanent one.  There are a whole host of uncharted opportunities with this technology. For example, if you have an employment gap on your resume, one option is to record a candid video that explains the circumstances of this employment gap and the experience you gained during your time off.  This site is a fantastic outlet for creative minds and is ideal for complete personalization of your job seeking. 

Linking Technologies

Thankfully, there are many third-party applications that feed one updated status to other platforms. For example, if you post a new blog, many applications will ensure that it shows up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Below is a list of articles that will help you set up these applications to save you time.

Scheduling Tweets, Blogs, and LinkedIn/Facebook Status Updates

There are also a few third-party applications that will allow you to schedule your tweets and other updates. If you always have time to update during the weekend, line up updates that can be released during the week. Below is a listing of apps that you may find useful for scheduling your tweets. Scheduling your updates helps your followers and readers have time to digest them before you post again. There’s no golden rule for how much you should post so create a schedule that works for you and your readers.

Other Resources

There are many other resources you can consider using to learn more about how social media can be effectively integrated into your job search. Here are some of our picks:

Social Media and the Job Search
Using social media to augment your face-to-face networking, and stand out from the crowd.

Careers Talk: Job hunting using social media
30-minute audio clip discussing the benefits of personal website development and the benefits of social media as it translates to in-person networking (starting around 17:00).

Social Media’s Role in the Job Search
Learning the limits of social media: how to keep personal and professional lives separate, and when to rely on conventional job-search tools instead.

7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media
Actively advertising yourself and employing social media as a primary resource in your job search.

Personal Branding Blog
A frequently-updated blog dedicated to using online tools to create and maintain your personal brand, and using that brand to do your work for you.

Twitter Tips
Helpful beginner’s Twitter tips from Professor Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia Journalism School Dean of Student Affairs.

SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE: Compiling My Tips
A social media guide also from Professor Sreenivasan.

Twitter Guide
The most comprehensive guide to using Twitter on the Internet; covers basics to advanced practice.

Facebook Guide
From the same site that brought you the Twitter guide, it’s the Internet’s best guide to Facebook.

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