Job-seekers should not feel limited to using LinkedIn as the place to digitally network. Facebook and twitter are making it easier for job-seekers to connect with companies, and for users to engage with hiring officials digitally. In the landscape of social media, users can find interest groups to communicate with professionals from around the United States and the world. The networking connections made through social media can be valuable for future employment opportunities and gaining perspective on trends happening in the field one is employed in.
While social media networking is a common way to connect with professionals, there are a few things that you should be aware of before being thrown onto the scene.
- Think strategically about how you want to capture your professional-self through your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts by dropping in a consistent headshot used across all profiles. A similar user name, possibly your e-mail address handle, will make it easier for networking contacts to find you on social media.
- Avoid adding dozens of people you do not personally know – your networking strategy should be focused on building relationships, and building relationships takes time and effort – Begin by seeking social media groups to engage with new networking contacts first before immediately sending a connection request.
- Stay up to speed with new tools and features as they’re introduced. LinkedIn is known for introducing new tools (and removing tools, too). Facebook and Twitter often experiment with new features that their users can find useful to their job search.
- Include the most up-to-date information in your networking profile. Keep your networking contacts informed about new employment, experiences and skills that you have developed.
- Consistently engage with your contacts. When a notification pops into your app indicating a contact has started a new job, is celebrating a work anniversary or was recently promoted, send them a congratulatory message. This message acknowledges your recognition of the changes they’re adding to their profile.
Who knew social media networking could be so involved? Using social media platforms to connect with networking contacts is a great way to network remotely and stay a breadth with trends in your field. Use your best judgement when building and editing a profile online.
John Link is the Assistant Director in Career Development Webster University Career Planning & Development Center.