By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
That is what career advisors in the mid-nineties told me would be the greatest boon to my career evolution. The more people you meet, the more people you know; the more people you know, the more they will think of you when they hear of career opportunities. Or so went the notion.
But easier said than done. I had great difficulty adequately ‘networking’ among the IT elite in my city as it was impossible to know where they would be at any given time. Mind you, this was not through a lack of effort; but, truth be told, most IT managers do not like to be approached by desperate candidates when they are golfing with their buddies. Getting out there was a difficult proposition.
Fortunately, social media has made modern networking a much less daunting task. For those who use social networks in their personal lives, the power behind their reach requires little introduction. While platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are commonly used for personal interactions, there is a huge benefit to using such tools when it comes to your career.
Increase your exposure
As an employer, I always perform some form of online research prior to meeting a candidate. If you are serious about finding a new job or expanding your career, a visible online professional profile is essential. Ideally, the professional profile is separate from any personal profiles. This allows any potential employers to review your public profile ahead of any meetings. Also, it allows for employers to easily find you, which can present countless opportunities. Seeing that social media has become so commonplace, no employer is going to begrudge you for having such a visible profile online. Do not be concerned about keeping your profile up to date as it has become such a standard practice.
Establish your brand
It may sound a bit ridiculous to think of yourself as a brand but that is precisely what you need to do. The more effort you put into creating a professional voice for yourself, the more likely someone is going to come across your profile when looking for someone with your skill set. Invest some time and effort to make sure that an employer will come across your glistening professional profile rather than an unrelated and potentially embarrassing personal element.
The benefits of social media are most often reaped by those who use it the most. The principle way of successfully developing a strong brand and gaining valuable exposure is to consistently use your chosen platform and to cultivate relationships. It should not be of any surprise that those with the most Twitter followers are those who tweet the most often. Routinely engaging your peers is invaluable currency for your career.
It is a lot easier to approach someone through a social network than it would be to do so at a cocktail party. So don’t be shy. If a potential employer has a public profile on a professional social media platform, feel free to introduce yourself. But remember, if you are a total stranger, you will need to provide a strong reason for your approach. Feel free to join online communities, participate in forums, solicit and provide feedback on open discussions. All of these things will get you appropriately noticed.
Recently, Monster has leveraged the Facebook platform to introduce a professional network aimed at helping people find jobs. Beknown (beknown.monster.ca) provides a medium where powerful connections can be made between companies, employees, job seekers and colleagues. It is the natural evolution of a platform that can provide a two-way street between those looking to fill positions and those looking to occupy them. If you are looking for a platform to help accelerate your career, go ahead and create your profile today.
Social media is very much interwoven into the fabric of modern western society. Scarce is the industry that has not embraced the power behind it and even scarcer is the employer who continues to ignore it. All serious job seekers would be remiss to avoid using social media to its utmost while looking for new opportunities. The world now functions in bite-sized data packages. Get out there and create your own.