Here are a few tips I prepared for a career workshop, after it became clear that many of the out of work (excuse me, “in transition”) professionals in attendance had little idea of how to use LinkedIn or Facebook, or how the two services were different. Suddenly, I felt an irresistible urge to pontificate.
Use LinkedIn as your professional social media page. Create a complete profile, mirroring your resume (but adapted to the web format). Include relevant links.
Make sure you enable the public profile. Consider including the link to that profile in your email signature and on business cards / contact cards.
Give recommendations to colleagues bosses (particularly those you genuinely like / respect) and they are likely to recommend you back.
Join groups that reflect your professional affiliations. This can be a source of new contacts. Many of these groups have their own job boards. Post thoughts and observations and comment on other peoples’ posts. Showcase your knowledge professionalism.
The free LinkedIn account allows you ask your professional contacts to connect with you through the service. You can upload addresses from your email program to automate some of that. But part of the point is to grow your network by getting introductions to people who are connected to your contacts.
An upgraded account allows you to shortcut the introduction process, but don’t consider upgrading until you have mastered the basics with a free account.
Not professionally focused, like LinkedIn, but there may be people you can reach through Facebook who aren’t active LinkedIn users.
To set an address that you can put on business cards or in an email, go to www.facebook.com/username
My username is www.facebook.com/davidfcarr
(Note: I personally like to limit my Facebook friends to people I have some actual social or community connection to, whereas on LinkedIn I’m more aggressive about building a wider network of professional contacts in IT, marketing, media, and technology. I may ignore your friend request if I don’t recognize your name.)
If using this as a job hunting tool, avoid posting anything that might reflect poorly on you. Employers are checking these profiles to see who is spending all their nights on sex and drugs and rock and roll.
A little more difficult for the uninitiated. Twitter revolves entirely around short “status” posts of 140 characters or less. Posts are often cluttered by codes like “Ran into @davidfcarr last night, thinks he’s an expert on online #careers #jobhunt LOL”
Translation: @davidfcarr is a reference to another twitter user, #careers is a keyword and LOL is short for laughing out loud.
Again, you may reach people on Twitter who aren’t on Facebook or LinkedIn.
On twitter, I’m twitter.com/davidfcarr
Email was the original Internet killer app, as significant as the web to drawing people online. But people often don’t use it effectively.
A few key points:
Use a clear subject, specific line. Not “Hello” or “Follow up” but “Application for Lowes Sales Manager Position” or “Follow up on interview for Lowes Sales Manager Position”
Identify yourself clearly. Make sure your email program is set to include your name, not just your email address in the “From” field. Recipients should know who you are and why they should open your email from the “From” and “Subject” lines alone. You have to stand out from the spam!
Provide complete contact information, including a link to your LinkedIn page, at the bottom of every message. The easiest way to do this is to set your email program to insert this automatically as an “email signature.”
Here is what that looks like on the Settings screen in Gmail:
There many more subtle details about how to use these Internet communications methods, but my goal here was just to share a few of the essential details.
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