Another key area emphasized at the Career Director’s 2010 International Conference, I attended in San Diego was social media. It is important to leverage social media whether you are happily employed or job hunting. It is critical for professional branding and ongoing career management. LinkedIn continues to be the key social networking site that all individuals need to be paying attention to. LinkedIn has a global reach, with over 75 million members in over 200 countries with diverse industry mix.
Two of my coaching colleagues Diane Compton and Ellen Sautter presented some key points from their new book: Find a Job Through Social Networking. They shared some key steps for effective job search and career management. These include:
- Develop a complete profile: Do you have your picture on your profile? Do you have a summary that highlights your brand? Have you joined some groups and associations? These are just a few suggestions to assist you in having a complete profile.
- Grow your network – invite: Find and select former colleagues and classmates that you trust and invite them to join your network. Take the time and invite contacts one by one so you can personalize the invite message.
- Give and get recommendations: We all know the magic formula for success… passed behavior equals future success. Do not be shy in asking customers and Managers for recommendations. Having a good resume is not enough. Endorsements that show impact are a key asset to career management.
- Search for companies: Are you aware that LinkedIn has a new feature that you can follow companies and learn about recent hiring and new openings? Check out this feature under the Company heading.
- Network activity update: The update section is a great area to share networking activities that you may be attending. It shows that you are staying up to date with your industry. This will also motivate you to make some networking and professional development goals so you can post some new updates.
My clients keep asking, “How much social networking do I really need to do.” Do I have to be focused on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and have a blog? There is no right answer for this question. It always comes back to LinkedIn being the most professional business social networking site. A lot depends on your time and interests. Many people decide to keep Facebook as a more friend based networking site and others find twitter interesting but do not have the time to engage with it. Having a blog is also something that takes a regular commitment and can be a great asset if you have the motivation and interest.
As I mentioned last month, the greatest career insurance you can have is to continue to connect with others. Social networking is a great tool but it is important to make sure you are making time to actually meet face to face with people as that is so important in developing strong relationships.