Networking with Social Media
You are probably using social media already. Most people have a Facebook page, and more and more are using Twitter and other sites to connect. As you begin building a professional network, it's time to take a step back and think about social media and how you use it as a networking technique.
Grow Your Professional Network Socially
Nowadays, just about every individual and organization has a social presence. This makes it a powerful resource for career and network development. While your previous use of social media may have been more — well, social — in nature, that is only the beginning of what these platforms have to offer.
- Join LinkedIn. From alumni search tools to networking among professionals, LinkedIn provides numerous tools for young professionals, even in the very earliest stages of the career planning process.
- Build your network as you go. Fellow peers, professors, family, friends and others can become valuable connections down the road.
- Find organizations you are interested in. With minimal effort, you can learn a great deal about an organization's products, services, news and culture. LinkedIn offers the ability to follow organizations and individuals.
- Identify thought leaders. Analyze the topics and trends they reveal about a possible career field. Follow them and make an effort to connect. As with other networking scenarios, be sure you are clear on why you are reaching out.
- Share content of your own. Your interactions with organizations can be passive (following status updates and tweets) and active (replying, re-tweeting or starting or joining conversations). Wise engagement can help you get noticed. Just be sure natural enthusiasm doesn't border into the realm of spam.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Keep your profile and interactions professional. That means it may be time for an upgrade, or the removal of certain posts or photos. When connecting with someone you have not met personally, your profile will shape their early impressions.