How to use social media to help your career

Whether we like it or not, social media is a constant in almost everyone’s lives. It is no longer for personal use alone. Businesses are increasingly realizing the incredible reach that social media has not only to advertise but also to build their brand and get in touch with their communities. Social media may get a lot of flak, but in business, it holds a lot of power.

The first thing people often do when they hear about a business or person they’ve been networking with is make a quick Google search… what would your results be? Every business needs a website that tells people about them, it’s the same for individuals, except we can use social media instead. Think, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Instagram or Facebook if this suits your industry. Here’s a breakdown of how social media can accelerate and benefit your career.

Personable profile

You can build a profile on any social network. LinkedIn is the clearest type of profile, being a digital version of your resume. However, your online profile is much more than just your page.

Your profile can be made up of what you tweet, what you post, what you comment on, what groups you join and engage with and so on.

When you begin to share online you will start to build a ‘personal brand’ or rather just let more people get to know who you are. This can be incredibly helpful when it comes to networking, selling, hiring, looking for jobs… the lot! When people feel a personal connection to you they are more likely to interact, engage and listen. All you have to do is be active online and share your own personal value.

Engaging with your network

On that note, engaging with your network is priceless. It gives you the ability to connect with people within your industry and hear about updates quickly and sometimes in real-time! It can also help you extend beyond your industry into similar sectors. It’s a great idea to follow people, industries or companies you admire and to interact with their posts every now and then. Don’t let people just come to you, reach out to others and you will start to build a community of like-minded individuals. When connecting with others on a deeper level you’ll open opportunities to build business (or to help others, which can only shine positively on you). 

Some ways to connect can include:

  • Joining and engaging with relevant Facebook groups
  • Commenting on LinkedIn posts of others
  • Creating your own posts (or tweets) on all social channels
  • Reaching out on LinkedIn InMail (appropriately!)
  • ‘Connecting’ with people on LinkedIn with a note
  • Sharing posts with your own personal commentary

Showcase your experience and expertise

Through posting your own content or sharing valuable content with your own personal take, you can show literally all your connections (and beyond) just how talented you are. Your online presence goes further than the resume and beyond the interview and expands your potential as a candidate. If you aren’t looking for work now, you may need to in the future. The establishment of your profile, your value shared, and your public experience can be an incredible point of difference for employers. It can also connect you to the right people, if you’re a recruiter for example, candidates might warm to you more if you share some helpful advice with them.

Job opportunities

As mentioned above, having a complete and active online profile can be incredibly helpful when you need to look for a job. Sometimes, you’ll even get a message when you’re not looking. You don’t need to go viral or be the most popular person online. Social media can sometimes seem like a B grade fame trap, but it doesn’t have to be! Just be yourself and share your insights as well as engaging with others to spread helpful, positive and realistic information.

Fair warning though, if you do have an online profile and often ‘troll’, post distastefully or comment negatively, this may have a harmful affect – potential employers and peers definitely won’t like the look of that.