I will admit that I'm fairly new to the whole social media thing. Slow to join the party!
I'd observed quite happily from the sidelines for a while but I suppose hadn't been confident or willing enough to really put myself and my thoughts out there for the rest of the world to see until I started this blog.
Then it was clear that it was the only way to engage, improve and build on what I was trying to achieve. Obviously a blog in itself means putting yourself and your thoughts out into the world for all to see - let alone all of the additions that you then associate with it. So I've found myself actively and happily embracing the world of online media - Twitter, Google+, Instagram you name it, I'm trying it. Plus you know what, I'm enjoying it! (Although my apologies to anyone who's been on the receiving end of my accidental over re-tweeting, quote-tweeting and over-favouriting haphazardness - I am still learning after all!)
Me?! The one time most ardent non Facebook fan - on Facebook. 'Never' I hear you say! Yet alas Facebook comes to us all in the end - I suppose?!
So yes it's been a learning curve, and so far a positive experience. I also think it's a very important aspect of today's life - building your 'brand' and an online reputation.
I've been reading so many articles recently on the importance of your online presence and how today's employers are not only using your CV to make decisions on whether to hire you but are also sussing out your online activity and checking out your profiles.
Don't worry, it's not as concerning as it may sound. They aren't necessarily looking for dirt on you or for negative things - reasons not to hire you! They are in fact looking for positive activity, good online engagement, bright ideas. It's a way to get to know you, the way you work, think and present yourself.
It's a great way to showcase yourself in this day and age. So therefore it's very important that you're putting the right message out there. When it comes to social media and job-hunting I particularly liked reading these 7 tips in this Forbes article.
The number one social media tool for your professional career would of course have to be LinkedIn. As a networking tool for career building it really can't be beaten. For some top tips on how to create a strong LinkedIn profile check out this great info-graphic from the Undercover Recruiter.
Recent studies have shown that other sites such as Facebook, Google+ and even Twitter are also playing vital roles in this arena. With this in mind here are few top tips for keeping on track with your online activity:
LinkedIn - Make sure your profile is searchable and complete; employers are more likely to engage with you if you have a full career history and presence. Don’t be afraid to ask previous colleagues for recommendations when you move on to a new role. Approach them quickly whilst your presence is still fresh in their mind and be prepared to do them the same favour by recommending them in return.
Facebook – Avoid being overly negative or controversial. Resist the temptation to have a good old rant - keep a positive attitude. If you want to keep this part of your life separate from work then don’t be tempted to ‘Friend’ colleagues (or worse your boss) and keep your privacy settings tight. However a recent survey suggests that a high proportion of job-hunters are now using Facebook as a job search tool. With that in mind you may want to use this for your own benefit, just ensure that you are keeping it professional.
Google+ - Share your best content and connect with influential people by adding them to your circles. Grow your network and focus on connecting with relevant professionals and cultivating these relationships. Ask questions relevant to your industry to invite feedback from those in your arena and to help get yourself noticed.
Twitter - An instant form of self-expression and engagement, Twitter can be a fantastic tool for reaching people quickly and for connecting with industry leaders in your field. Again it is important to avoid being overly negative or offensive in any way. Keep it sharp and observational, do not over promote but instead ask questions and offer up information that your followers will absorb and that key people in your field may wish to retweet and engage with.
So do yourself a favour, take a minute to look through all of your accounts and profiles that form your online history. Are you really presenting yourself in the best possible way both personally and professionally? Is there anything you can do to improve, negative things that you need to clear up, delete or rethink?
Think of social media and online activity as an asset and make the most of it. Present the best 'you' that you possibly can. Who knows who might be looking and just where it might take you! Don't be tempted to blast your latest aggrevation all over the internet. Be yourself but be thoughtful. Keep it positive, professional, engaging and most of all something to be proud of.