Leverage Social Media for career advantages

From Twitter to LinkedIn and Facebook to Pinterest, social media has engulfed our culture and continues to grow in popularity, both in the workplace and from the comfort of our homes. Personal interconnectivity has grown exponentially and the behaviors of digital social engagement have developed into an effortless stream of consciousness. Through this process, we have ignited a generation of socially active users who willingly disperse information to professional acquaintances, family across the globe, and people with whom they have never met or previously communicated.

A breakthrough phenomenon on how we communicate, social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ deliver unique opportunities to reach diverse audiences at speeds unimaginable just a few years ago. As an executive recruiter in the Information Technology industry, I have embraced the depth and reach this connectivity provides, which far surpasses traditional means for staying abreast of current market trends and industry news, and provides a robust tool for researching today’s top talent.

The transparency of social media is a two-way street, and the degree to which you may research companies and Thought Leaders in a specific industry, so too are potential employers reviewing your online profile. The information you share on social platforms is public and it is critical that you are using it effectively and appropriately. Your digital footprint sets the standard for which current and potential employers gauge their perspectives of you, and it is therefore of utmost importance to keep your online image polished and in-tune with the industry in which you are currently employed.

Many employers are now utilizing many of the same social networking sources to vet and uncover information about candidates not included in a resume. While maintaining a “digitally dirt-free” online presence is not only advised, but expected from executive recruiters representing candidates, employers have shifted their focus to the personal branding of candidates in today’s digital marketplace. A Twitter feed that is peppered with foul language and derogatory comments or inappropriately tagged Facebook photos won’t shed the best light on one’s professional career, much less the opportunity to secure an in-person interview.

To ensure your online profile is viewed in the best possible light for your career and professional networking, I encourage the following;

Establish your online professional profile – The first thing hiring employers will do is search for a candidate on LinkedIn or Google. Do you know what a simple search of your name renders and how this can impact your job search? Not only should your information be professional, but it should be updated frequently and remain current.

Review your privacy settings – Utilize these settings to keep potential image-compromising posts and photos at bay. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter offers users the option keep certain information private. Understand that your networking reach will be limited depending upon the chosen level of privacy.

Expand your network and build connections – Build relationships with Thought Leaders and follow organizations of interest to you. Encourage conversations and share insights on topics to which you can share past experiences or success stories.

The online community continues to grow every day, so too are the ever-expanding networks within various industries of interest. Your personal brand is now more important than ever.