Social Networking: Using Social Media to Connect Professionally

The internet is likely the single most valuable tool available in our modern times. Not only does it offer an almost limitless storage capability, but it serves as a means by which people across the world can connect and share experiences and resources.

The internet has changed how to do virtually everything from cooking to shopping to meeting people. Social media is a component of the internet that can be used to improve the quality of life. Social media can also help people connect professionally. These connections are invaluable to job seekers and professionals who strive to never stop learning.

Here are some ways to use social media professionally:

Maintain social media accounts:

It’s not enough to just sign-up for an account. Use it and start advertising your skills, your experiences and that you are seeking employment, if applicable. Also, only use social media at work if your boss says it’s o.k. Comment on posts and post links to articles that you feel are relevant to your field. Keep the personal updates to a minimum, but show some personality so people (coworkers, employers, etc.) get a sense of who you are. 

Professional etiquette:

If you are actively seeking employment or gainfully employed, you have to be careful what you post across your social media platforms. Keep private accounts private, but keep your public profiles professional. Virtually everyone is on some type of social media, so information is shared instantly. Be careful what you share, like or post. If you don’t want your boss or prospective employer reading it, it might be best to refrain from posting that content.

Build a network:

It does take time to build a professional network, but the benefits outweigh the time invested. There are countless success stories of individuals who formed professional relationships via social media. If you find someone you’d like to connect with, don’t be too persistent. Don’t leave repeated comments. Like a few of their images, but don’t saturate their notifications with your presence. Connect with people that share the same values and similar professional goals. On the other side, don’t just add anyone to your social media accounts. You want to ensure that the content you see is the most valuable to you. Don’t waste time following people that aren’t engaging with you.

You are your brand:

Be consistent across all social media platforms. Employers look for confident and ambitious individuals and your professional image is valuable. Your brand is what makes you unique and allows you to showcase your talents. Building a brand takes time, so expect to put some time into creating YOU. Keep your brand simple, not flashy. Don’t be trendy, but sophisticated. Even if you have zero professional experience, you can certainly begin to build your brand through a wealth of free resources. Decide what your professional pursuits are and structure your social media presence around this. Ambition is a highly sought after quality.

If you have an aversion to social media, at the very least, utilize email and sign-up for digital newsletters for industry-appropriate updates. These are digital times, and most employers require their employees to stay relevant with technology. If you aren’t taking advantage of free social media connections, try starting a blog or a website. You can network in person, obviously, but, an online presence can be helpful in your career path. Above all else, keep all of your online information current and consistent with other platforms.