Using your social network

09/04/2012  |  By Lida Citroen Courtesy

Q: I’ve heard it said that social media is powerful in helping build visibility (especially in a job search). Do you agree?

A: Absolutely! For most of us, our online profiles are the first place a potential employer, interviewer or recruiter will go to try to find us. For this reason, I have several tips for building a powerful online personal brand.

Here are some best practices for using the power of social networking to attract the attention of a future employer:

  1. Nothing is private. Anything you post online (regardless of privacy settings) is public information. Since LinkedIn is a business tool, keep specific client information, project details and confidential information off your posts and comments. While Facebook is more social, it is still considered “public” regardless of the privacy settings you might believe are tight. Most posts online are searchable and indexed by Google.
  2. Project a good image. Pay attention to your headshot and the tone of your profile. Are you projecting an image of someone who is welcoming, approachable and professional? Or, does the absence of a headshot and the tone of your profile send the message that you are standoffish and aloof? Are you engaging and welcoming or confrontational and angry?
  3. Talk about your military experience in ways that a recruiter or hiring manager will understand. If you use overly technical jargon and terminology, you might turn off the civilian recruiter. Instead, relate your experiences and skills to understandable values, such as: “Able to make effective decisions quickly.... Understanding of complex engineering systems... Team leader with proven track record for collaboration and effectiveness....” Use civilian language if you are looking for a civilian opportunity.
  4. Use keywords. LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube are highly searchable. Consider key words in your summary, title, and experience descriptions that make your profiles more findable to prospects, colleagues and partners.
  5. Groups. LinkedIn offers you hundreds of groups to choose from, where you can become engaged and involved in conversations around areas of interest, alumni groups, causes and business initiatives. Choose the groups wisely – you build your own reputation in part through the groups with whom you associate. Once you join a group, post and comment where appropriate and comfortable.
  6. Research. If your job is landing another opportunity, then you should spend much of your day researching companies, hiring manager, thought leaders and content in your desired industry and company. There is so much rich information online! Take advantage of the power of Google to learn as much as you can about the industry, company and people you want to meet.
  7. Update regularly. Sending an update to either your LinkedIn or Facebook status or profile, groups or apps ensures you stay top of mind with your network. Posting something relevant every 7-10 days increases your odds of being top of mind with most of your contacts.
  8. Work it. If social networking and social media are part of your transition strategy, then treat it as work. Research, share, collaborate and post insights to ensure you stay relevant. Keep the rants about politics off social networking if you are using this tool for business and career transitioning.

Social networking is a vibrant resource for busy people. It affords many tools to build your visibility, share your interests, promote your talents and connect with like-minded individuals around the globe.

Lida Citroen, a branding expert based in Denver, has made a career of helping people and companies create new or enhanced identities. She is donating her time, expertise and effort to help returning war veterans learn how to compete in a civilian, particularly corporate, career. . If you have a transition question Lida can help answer, email her at [email protected].
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