You've all heard that networking is the key to managing your career. And you've probably heard that social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can help on this front. But do you really understand exactly how to leverage these networks to improve your chances of landing a job and building career visibility?
In her new book, 'Social Networking for Career Success,' job search and social media expert Miriam Salpeter teaches readers how to use social media efficiently to demonstrate their expertise and illustrates how to get the word out about a job search without specifically asking for help.
Here are a few of Salpeter's tips for using social networking to get ahead professionally:
Don't expect social networking to be a magic career wand.
Job seekers must have expertise, and be willing to listen first and learn the rules of engagement. Just as approaching a stranger on the street to ask for a job isn't socially acceptable, no one should expect strangers online to flock to help until there's a viable connection.
Do present a consistent, professional profile in social networking bios.
Pick keywords people would use to identify the job or role of interest. For example, Salpeter incorporates "job search/social media coach" and "resume writer" in her profiles. Use job descriptions, company and industry websites and blogs and information from professional conference materials to identify your field's keywords. Include them in your online bios.
Use Alltop.com to find other niche bloggers.
Regularly read and leave useful and meaningful comments on their blogs. Bloggers should generously link to and refer to colleagues in articles. Share those posts via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Be sure to include colleagues' Twitter names and/or tag them on Facebook.
Use WeFollow.com or Listorious.com to find people on Twitter who share professional interests.
Search via keywords and follow selected colleagues, potential mentors and superstars. Review their Twitter streams, retweet their posts, respond to their questions and ask for clarification when appropriate. Salpeter explains, "You may be surprised how a few casual tweets can result in a strong online relationship. I've even seen people build business relationships as a result of casual tweets about television shows, restaurant recommendations and sports. In fact, that's happened to me! Don't be afraid to show your personality online!" Once there is an established connection, it's OK to ask for an introduction or advice. However, Salpeter cautions, "Don't jump into asking for a favor the minute the person follows you back. It's better to focus on what you can give."
Use online platforms to pass along useful professional advice and information.
For example, post links and insightful comments on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Remind friends, fans and followers about professional goals and skills by consistently including updates illustrating key knowledge, skills and abilities.
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