Consider yourself a brand, be creative and act like a politician: How social media can boost your career

  • Social media can be a vast resource to develop yourself professionally
  • But it is important to carefully manage your social media personality
  • Study found that employers seek those who act 'like politicians' online

From YouTube videos and Facebook postings to LinkedIn blogs and Google+ updates, social media is pretty hard to escape these days. And it’s only going to get bigger.

But while most of us will add the odd Instagram picture or re-tweet an interesting post, only a small percentage of workers are currently using social media to its full potential professionally.

Which could be a real mistake. If used properly, social media is a vast resource which can be used to develop yourself as a brand, establish a presence in your field and demonstrate expert knowledge.

Here are a few simple ways to get started…

If you're not using social media professionally then you could be missing out on a valuable resource to further your career. It can help establish a presence in your field and demonstrate your expert knowledge

If you're not using social media professionally then you could be missing out on a valuable resource to further your career. It can help establish a presence in your field and demonstrate your expert knowledge

LINKEDIN 

It’s all very well setting up a LinkedIn profile and adding your work information, but if you really want to make the most of this tool then you need to engage.

Join groups that are aligned with your professional goals and interests, and look out for relevant job listings, events and industry news.

Then make sure you get involved. Always conduct yourself professionally, but be vocal if you want to get noticed and share your own unique perspective.

As you build up your connections, make sure you endorse them – which in turn will help you gather your own endorsements and strengthen your profile.

A 2014 study  found that employers evaluating job candidates online appear to seek those who behave like politicians - ‘carefully managing their online personality, endorsements, public image and private life’

A 2014 study found that employers evaluating job candidates online appear to seek those who behave like politicians - ‘carefully managing their online personality, endorsements, public image and private life’

Whether you’re using LinkedIn to seek a new job or to network in your existing role, a strong profile is vital. Consider it your online resume and make sure you constantly update.

Your summary should be concise yet detailed and include a friendly, professional photograph that clearly shows your face. And don’t be afraid to shout out your accomplishments using relevant keywords and web links.

FACEBOOK

Most of us use Facebook as a means to communicate with friends and family, but – if utilized correctly – it can be a great resource for your career, too.

Start by creating a profile that reflects the image you want to portray professionally.  

If utilized correctly, Facebook can be a great resource to develop your online presence professionally

If utilized correctly, Facebook can be a great resource to develop your online presence professionally

A 2014 study by the University of Texas in Austin found that employers evaluating job candidates online appear to seek those who behave like politicians - ‘carefully managing their online personality, endorsements, public image and private life’.

It showed that employers wanted to see online posts and pictures ‘highlighting a personality defined by creativity, curiosity, friendliness, stability and initiative’.

Facebook is unparalleled when it comes to networking, but it’s important to make sure you are getting the right sort of attention, so carefully consider how you want to come across.

Use your statuses to showcase your achievements and discuss projects that you’re working on or link to interesting informative content. And make use of your privacy settings and friend lists to manage who can see your profile.

Request to join groups that are relevant to your industry, and ‘like’ and follow pages of companies that work in your field. 

Then get involved in discussions by commenting on other professionals statuses as and when it is appropriate.

TWITTER 

Twitter is the ideal platform to create a professional brand for yourself, and is one of the best tools to keep up-to-date with industry news and events.

Start by creating a bio that mentions your profession, as well as any core skills or expertise. Then establish connections by replying to posts, re-tweeting and sending direct messages.

Your own posts are a good way to show your knowledge and specific interests in your field of work. 

Entrepreneur Cory Nieves, founder and CEO of Mr. Cory’s cookie company, has successfully marketed his company on Instagram with just under 38,000 followers to date

Entrepreneur Cory Nieves, founder and CEO of Mr. Cory’s cookie company, has successfully marketed his company on Instagram with just under 38,000 followers to date

It can help to make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to post on Twitter at least once a day, even if it is just a re-tweet or a response to another user.

Follow individuals and organizations that are relevant to your industry and search hashtags for interesting up-to-date content. Creating lists can be a good way to organize the people and organizations you follow – or follow other users’ public lists. 

Many job listings are released on Twitter so keep an eye out for openings if you’re looking for a new role, and explore social media resources such as TweetMyJobs.

INSTAGRAM 

Never underestimate the power of social media to develop a brand, and Instagram is one of the best places to get yours noticed.

Ten-year-old Cory Nieves
Ten-year-old Cory Nieves

Ten-year-old Cory, from New Jersey, has attracted attention on social media using not only images of his burgeoning business but also by showcasing his impeccable fashion sense on Instagram

An excellent example is ten-year-old Cory Nieves from New Jersey, founder and CEO of Mr. Cory’s cookie company. The pint-sized entrepreneur has earned himself and his company an impressive following thanks to his clever marketing on social media.

With just under 38,000 followers to date, Cory has made the most of Instagram by posting pictures of his burgeoning company alongside images showcasing his impeccable fashion choices.

It’s worth considering yourself as a brand that can be marketed through sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and even YouTube.

Consider how you want to appear to your boss, potential employers and fellow professionals and then make sure that is the image you are projecting.

 

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