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Social Media + Networking = Career Moves

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By Trish Freshwater

When I first joined LinkedIn, it was a little known web site where a Sodexo social networkingfew of us “geeks” posted a brief resume and hoped to connect with former college classmates and maybe find a professional contact through the whole three degrees of separation theory. It was the first attempt to connect with others online outside of e-mail. And to us, the LinkedIn of 2004 was way cool. Until Facebook came along and showed us how we could really keep up with old friends …

Today, social media has many roles in our lives — not the least of which is creating our own personal-professional brand, and providing a platform to connect with professionals in our industries. But, if you’re not using social media in a meaningful way, you could actually hurt your chances of landing that great job you recently discovered.

Step 1: Build Your Brand

You. The image you want a prospective employer to have of you. Your brand. Do you know what it is? Do you know what it looks like? Collectively, all of your social media profiles create an image of you — but without proper care, you might be leaking too many details about your personal life into your professional image. So, take a few moments to decide what, exactly, you want your brand to look like.

Once you have a few ideas, you need to build your online brand accordingly and clean up some of your profiles. And, remember that LinkedIn profile you created back in 2004? In 2012 and again this year, the company updated its site and changed the layout of LinkedIn profiles — giving you far more opportunities to display your skills and experience. So, if you haven’t updated your profile in a while, you’ll want to follow these tips to help get you noticed.

Step 2: Network

Once you’ve established your brand, the next step to making your career move is networking. Social media provides numerous ways for you to follow and reach out to colleagues as well as professionals you’ve never met. But sometimes getting started is the tricky part.

Social networking requires you to be an active participant. To be noticed, you need to be proactive about joining and participating in LinkedIn groups, following and interacting with key people on Twitter and building professional relationships with those contacts. Social networking takes time and diligence.

Step 3: Search for Jobs

These days, many companies are posting jobs on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. So, as you expand your job search from traditional job boards and company career sites, consider these tips on using social media to find a job. This blog series offers even more suggestions on creating a consistent brand for yourself as well as tips for networking with company representatives.

Using social media to network and find your next job takes a good bit of work and tenacity. And even if you think you’ve followed all of the advice on how to do it, things may not always go as you plan. So, just in case, check this list of possible mistakes you could be making – and continue to build those relationships.

At the end of the day, social media is a relationship tool. It’s a way to meet, connect and get to know people in your industry. But remember, even the best of friendships you made on the playground as a child took a little bit of work to solidify. Good luck!

Trish Freshwater, APR, is an accomplished HR Talent and Project Leader with a rich experience in the field of human resources. Leveraging her accreditation in Public Relations, she has successfully bridged the gap between internal communications and HR, enhancing organizational coherence and productivity.

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