Sunday, June 24, 2012

Being professional on social networks

Photo Credits via
Marist grads are armed with education and experience to enter the professional world, diploma finally in hand. But do their online profiles look as presentable as their commencement gowns?

These days, employers are looking past resumes to make employment decisions. I'm sure everyone has heard about the controversy surrounding interviews in which candidates are asked to open their social media sites, including Facebook. Even if they're not asking, they are looking. It is just as easy, if not easier, to type in a candidate's name into a Google search to see what comes up. A few clicks later, judgement might have passed. And your chance was short lived and shot down by your online profiles.

My boss at my first internship, who happened to be the CIO, admitted that he had Googled my name even before my interview. A wave a relief ran through me when I realized I passed the I-Googled-your-name-and-you-still-got-the-position test. Even still, knowing he did Google me was nerve wracking; knowing someone is surfing the Internet to find out about you is, well, creepy. But the blatant fact is, I've put everything out there as fair game to be searched by future employers.

So what can you do? Use your online profiles to stand out in the sea of applicants and give employers a reason to take the next step and schedule an interview to meet you. The Savvy Intern offers a blog post by Brandon Manson including advice for not only recent college graduates, but also future grads in developing a professional social media persona.

Be sure to look presentable. Every social media profile has a picture of you: make sure it is a good one. And be sure to fill your profiles out completely especially your biographies. On Twitter, you have 140 characters to describe yourself professionally and uniquely.

Use social media sites to network in a professional manner to brand yourself.

Become an industry expert by knowing everything there is to know about one or two areas of interest with your industry.

Become a reliable source of content by sharing content in your industry--retweet, shares and +1s--daily. Engage users in your network and participate in conversations. Build your network by reaching out to industry experts and influencers. They'll realize that you share industry news and appreciate the content you post or tweet.

Write a blog to share your thoughts on the latest industry news and any knowledge you acquire through experience, courses and internships. You could even send along a link to it to PR professionals; then they see your name and might possibly even share it in their network.

A valuable piece of advice by Manson resonates within his contradiction to the popular phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know." In opposition, he says this statement is false because you have to know things to get to know people. And if you've read this entire post, that is the most important lesson you should take away.

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