With a global + targeted + local reach comprised of interconnected professionals, businesses, organizations or individuals, social media is the most powerful promotional tool available today!
Do you know that in a recent survey, “One in five tech executives said that a candidate’s social media profile caused them not to hire that person?“ and that 37% of all companies take a look at candidates’ social media profiles as a part of their recruitment evaluation process?
Yet, if you ask random passerbys to define social media, you are likely to get mentions of (Facebook! Reddit! YouTube!) than an actual explanation of its usefulness.
The reason is that it is sometimes hard to spot the benefit of social media.
While traditional media entails one way communication of generalized content (as in a television broadcast), social media lets you interact with the content, customize it, build on it or share it in a more targeted way.
Social Media allows you to engage others while you create your content. It includes everything from social networking to user created wikis and boasts participation from a global network of millions of people.
Above everything, social media is what you make of it!
Want an example? You may use Twitter to tweet about what you had for dinner or you could do a search on the ‘#jobs’ hash tag and get instant access to thousands of job postings.
Millions of professionals use social media every day to spread the word about their credentials and skills, build dynamic and impressive resumes, find out about jobs and companies, connect with potential employers or get job offers.
Here’s how you too can get a slice of the social pie and advance your career:
Unleash the power of Facebook.
If you only use Facebook for sharing your vacation pictures with your friends, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. In 2011 alone, almost 9 million Americans found jobs using Facebook.
You can use Facebook to get a job by:
- Posting a status update letting everyone know that you’re looking for a job. Friends and colleagues can drop in with helpful advice and useful leads, and even offer a reference for a job opening at their workplace.
- Joining professional communities and company pages on Facebook. You will be able to connect with like-minded people in your industry or make useful contacts at your dream company.
Using applications like Branchout and SimplyHired and a plethora of other Facebook apps, you may check out job listings in your area, see which of your friends are already working with a preferred employer or get job recommendations based on your interests and prior experience.
Admit it: you never thought Twitter was going to catch on. After all, what could be so interesting about a website that only allowed you to post 140-character messages?
Sure, you could tweet to announce that you are watching reruns of Friends or about to take a trip to the restroom, but can Twitter really help with your career?
Apparently, it CAN help. A lot!
Many professionals have gotten jobs using Twitter because they started following someone at their dream workplace. That person in turn followed them back and they soon struck a rapport that ended in an interview and a job offer.
Twitter lets you connect with like-minded individuals, get instant information and updates (including job listings) from your preferred employer and build a following that you can leverage to further promote yourself.
LinkedIn manages to remain a social media juggernaut because it sticks to its “professional networking” agenda.
When you use LinkedIn, you are far less likely to get distracted by useless games (we are looking at you, Farmville).
LinkedIn lets you focus your time and energy on building a professional network that you can use to follow your dream company, connect with colleagues and potential employers or get highly valuable references and introductions.
Here’s an example of the magic of LinkedIn: If one of your LinkedIn contacts has a friend who, in turn, is friends with the HR manager at your dream company, you can ask your friend to ask their friend to introduce you to the manager. On LinkedIn, this just takes a few clicks.
In the real world, you wouldn’t even get to know that you were thus connected to the HR manager.
Get your own blog- and hook it up with all your social media accounts.
Blogging is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
You could blog about recent projects you have completed, industry news and developments, and free tech tutorials.
By integrating your blog with your other accounts, you could have your posts spread to your Facebook and Twitter followers as soon as you hit the submit button.
Connecting your blog to all your social media accounts allows you to keep them up to date.
Concentrate on building your brand.
If you dive into social media without planning or organization, you will get very little else than a hand full of online accounts at a number of different services you can’t use.
The objective of establishing your presence on social media sites is to consciously build your brand.
Once you’ve zeroed on your niche (‘ace programmer’, ‘senior business analyst’, ‘database developer’ etc.), you can use social media to complement and augment your profile: Highlight your relevant experience in the ‘About Me’ sections, blog about stuff directly related to your niche, follow successful people in your field on Twitter, make lots of professional contacts, and get your own website and/or Facebook page.
With tighter integration, all your social media accounts- whether they are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and WordPress, etc., can contribute to building a cohesive and significant presence for you on the web.
With social media, you can build a 360 degrees communication strategy for yourself: Every account, every status update and every connection contributes to building and presenting yourself as a skilled professional in your industry.
So, now you know how social media can make or break your career. Take control now and use it to promote your career!