Used wisely, social networking can help get you noticed. By Victor Violante.
The growth of professional social networking sites LinkedIn and Facebook's Branch Out have made it easier to engage potential employers, clients and recruits on a global scale, but only if used smartly.
Strategic and informed use of the features these social media platforms have to offer could mean that as little as an hour a week of activity could be enough to get you noticed by the right people, according to networking organisation Schmooze's founder, Phillip Jones. Jones discussed some of the following tips on how to maximise your time on these sites during a recent seminar he presented in Canberra:
There are no prizes for collecting "connections"
It's annoying on Facebook, but it could even reflect poorly on your character on these platforms to connect with or follow complete strangers who have little or no relevance to you. Your activity reflects your personality, and in this case authenticity is best, and it may mean those you do connect with will take more notice of what you are up to.
Don't be modest
If you are using these networks in the hope of being head-hunted, or to attract new clients, be upfront about your professional experience and qualifications. Treat your profile like your CV, which means being specific about where and when you have worked, what your skills are and making sure you update as necessary.
Posting regularly with meaningful discussion topics, insightful comments and breaking news is a good way of getting noticed and reminding those in your network of what you are up to (and perhaps also an insight into your personality). Posting in particular groups might mean you get noticed by someone you are not already connected with.
Link your social media accounts
Cross-promoting yourself across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is easy thanks to social media management dashboards such as HootSuite ( TweetDeck does not support LinkedIn), but be mindful a post that works for Twitter might not work for LinkedIn and vice versa.
LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to add "recommendations" from employers, colleagues or clients, past or present. These are essentially references. Just as with references, they can be very useful for potential employers, but only if they're relevant - a recommendation from your aunt is probably best omitted.
Don't be shy
If you meet someone interesting, or someone who could be good for your career down the track, ask them if they're on LinkedIn and whether you can connect with them. It's not as personal as being Facebook friends with someone - it's strictly business.