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Social Media for Professional Networking

Social media has evolved from a method of keeping in touch with old friends to a strategy for networking and maintaining professional relationships. Individuals question whether or not these two should be mixed, or if separate profiles should be made on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. By taking into consideration the power of the Internet and how it is utilized by employers, staff and clients, the use of social media can be a beneficial and positive way to maintain and build professional relationships.

The Benefits of Social Media in Professional Development

Social media plays an integral part in the success of both securing a job and keeping it, and the importance of ensuring that social media accounts are used in a professional and authoritative manner is crucial. More employers are looking to social media to find information about applicants than their resume can convey; for many, this is a downfall in the interviewing process. In today’s social-sharing world, many do not think about the potential negative implications of posting provocative or subjective information on social media sites.

Important Considerations
Maintaining social media profiles requires an element of care. Recruiters and potential employers are looking at what individuals post, on what sites they post to and how they interact with others. To maintain a certain image, employers take into consideration how potential hires would embody their overall message to social media networks because employees are essentially a representation of their company both inside and outside of work. Some of the simplest ways to ensure that your social media sites are appropriate for job searching and professional networking include:

  • Spell Check: As simple as it may sound, ensure that any posts on social media sites are free of spelling and grammar mistakes. For those reading your profiles, especially on job searching sites, going back to ensure that any messages or biographies are free of these mistakes is one simple way to portray oneself professionally.
  • Maintain Client Privacy: Client information is private and should never be discussed on social media. Although endorsing or speaking highly of your client is another story, giving into the urge to discuss how difficult a client is or any project-specific information should be avoided at all times.
  • Public Awareness: Regardless of how “private” a social media account is, anything published on the internet is usually permanent. Electronic conversations can be shared and comments can be copy-and-pasted. The internet is a public arena; it’s important to carefully consider what is being placed on professional or personal social media accounts.
  • Post with Purpose: Establish a goal for professional social media accounts. Is the goal to generate relationships with individuals in your field? If so, posting industry-related material or blog posts will help accomplish this. Perhaps the goal is to find work; publishing and fine-tuning resumes or sharing portfolio work can be one approach toward reaching this goal.

Although there are many elements to maintaining a social media network, it ultimately comes down to making decisions that portray oneself professionally.

Managing Social Media Professionally

With so many social media networks on the Internet, it can be difficult to determine what type of information should be posted or shared on each site and how they can be used for effective professional networking.

Facebook and Twitter
Although these sites offer different types of professional networking opportunities, both allow for professional relationships to build. Individuals can establish themselves as an authoritative expert in their field. By sharing unique information related to a targeted niche or posting written blog posts on topics, your networks on Facebook and Twitter will begin to recognize your professional abilities.

As a professional networking site, LinkedIn is designed to share resumes, create relationships with industry professionals, and find job opportunities. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, success on these sites depends on how you present yourself. Posting relevant information, creating relationships, and asking for advice from those with more experience are just a few ways to utilize LinkedIn.

With Google+, professionals can create “circles” that allow for categorizing contacts into lists. Information can be shared to a specific niche in a particular industry, or to all Google+ connections depending on what type of information it is. Use the circle features on Google+ to interact with a wide range of contacts, while only sharing information you feel is relevant to their industry or interests. Professionally, Google+ offers a more personalized experience for your networks to convey to them your expertise and experiences more effectively.

When utilized properly, social media is a powerful tool in terms of professional networking and building relationships. Executives and others involved in the hiring process are looking for individuals who convey strong professionalism both in the office and outside. Industry professionals can continue to build their trusted reputations through the effective use of social media sites. Additionally, with the help of Notre Dame de Namur University Online, students have the resources and assistance to achieve their career goals. Enroll in an online program today at Notre Dame to take the first steps on the journey to reach your career goals.

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