Whether you’re a jobseeker or climbing the career ladder, using professional networking sites like LinkedIn, and cultivating your online brand on this and other social platforms to attract opportunities is vital in today’s business environment.
According to business coaching site, The Muse, 92% of companies are using social media for hiring. LinkedIn currently has over 430million users from over 200 countries and two people join the platform every second.
Put frankly, if you’re not using social media to boost your career, you risk missing out on opportunities. Here’s a basic guide to help you use it to your advantage.
Your online brand: what you need to know
Your social media profiles are a way for employers to see who you are both professionally and outside of work. Think of it as an opportunity to advertise yourself – your skills, achievements, goals, interests. To succeed in boosting your career, your social media profiles and activities need to reflect these.
Where to start?
- Firstly, decide what you want to present to the world. Be authentic, as you have to be able to live up to the persona you create in person.
- Choose your platforms and carefully build your profiles. LinkedIn and Twitter are good places to start as they’re designed for networking and opinion sharing. Read our guide to writing the perfect LinkedIn profile here.
- Post regular content relevant to the brand/persona you want to present. Share articles that interest you, give opinions, join discussions and ask questions.
- Be careful with what you share on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Either don’t post snaps of yourself downing drinks in the pub, or adjust your privacy settings so only your close friends can see them. It only takes one inappropriate post to ruin your professional online reputation.
Who to connect with?
The rules are slightly different for LinkedIn than they are other social networking sites.
While platforms like Twitter encourage you to follow pretty much anyone that interests you, LinkedIn requires a little more etiquette to connecting with people.
It’s more about quality over quantity, and how you approach people.
It’s a good idea to connect with people you’ve encountered during your education and career so far – college alumni, colleagues, clients, etc. But to network with new people, the logic follows that you’ll need to connect with people you don’t know. There are a few unwritten rules to help:
- Treat each new connection as an individual – do your research and demonstrate genuine interest in what they do.
- Send a personal message and introduce yourself as you would in a normal social situation – don’t use the standard connection message provided by LinkedIn when you invite someone to connect.
- Join groups related to your field or interests, it’s a great way to network and establish rapport before you request a connection.