Getting your professional brand online is the 21st Century's answer to trawling through newspapers with a red pen circling job ads – so twitter, facebook, blog your way to a brilliant career.
The employment world is undergoing an online revolution with networking sites the way of the future for job hunting, networking and keeping your career in peak condition.
Whether you are part of the growing Twitteratti, subscribed to LinkedIn and Facebook, addicted to blogging or all of the above – you will have increased ability to break into the hidden job market, leverage your professional brand and connect with important people in your industry.
Online networking is only getting bigger and more essential for career-savvy professionals. That means making sure you aren’t just seeking, but can also be sought out by companies looking for staff or others who may want to collaborate with you.
So how exactly can you make the most of the plethora of sites to boost your career?
These days there is a social networking site for every occasion so the first thing to do is get up to speed on how each of them can help turbo-charge your career. The latest arrival on the online career scene is Twitter. For the uninitiated, twittering involves users posting messages of up to 140 characters online. Australians have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon with gusto, with businesses, professionals and politicians all discovering the benefits of maintaining a constant news feed and keeping in touch with their followers.
LinkedIn is one of the biggest professional networking sites. The dedicated business-only service allows you to create a professional profile, upload your resume and communicate with other people in your field.
MySpace and Facebook are typically more social than corporate creatures, but can also be handy for informal networking and creative job hunting.
If you feel the need to further stamp your professional greatness online, then set up your own website and blog. That way you can really get creative with content and design, as well as direct people to it from your other sites.
Career FAQs is in on the action too. Now you can build and broadcast your resume from our site using our CV Central online resume builder. The benefits are you have several current resumes ready to send electronically to potential employers. And don’t forget to check out the Careers FAQs Directory to network with top employers, recruiters, course providers across different industries, as well as career specialists to help you get started.
In this day and age, when an employer is likely to google you before they bother calling you in for an interview, it is vital to have a positive online presence. You could even attract the attention of prospective employers before you even send an application to them.
Setting up an online profile is easy. Choose which networking site or sites will best suit your purposes and they’ll guide you through the process of setting up your account. The best part is that nearly all of them are completely free!
Establishing your own website might prove a bit harder for the technologically illiterate, but there are plenty of books and websites that will help you navigate the steps to creating your own little professional portal. Google’s blogspot is easy to use as is WordPress. If all else fails, get a professional web content developer on board to help you out.
At the end of the day, your online presence is all about creating a professional brand which will attract employers. It’s like an all-singing, all-dancing resume that will tell them who you are, what you can do and why they should employ you.
Once you are a signed up member, each site will have different features which you can take advantage of. Whether it’s by uploading resumes, photos, profiles, creating contacts, posting comments or personalising the site, you will be able to set yourself apart from the pack.
When it comes to Twitter, it’s a particularly big challenge to sell yourself: the work, expertise, experience and what you can bring to a company – all in 140 characters or less. Stay on message when you make posts, link to interesting industry-related sites and keep watch on what people in your field are twittering about.
But remember, you only get out what you put in. It’s one thing to have a fancy web page and a profile on 20 different social networking sites, but if you let them go stale they may actually work against you. Social sites are dynamic and ever changing, which means you will have to invest time and energy to reap the rewards.
If you have several accounts, you can use an aggregator, which can easily keep them all up to date. For example, Windows Live has a partnership with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so you can update all three simultaneously. Get noticed (for the right reasons) Keeping work and play separate has always been a good idea, so be very careful about divulging too much of your private life online for all and sundry to see.
Remember that while social networking sites can put a rocket under your career, they also have the potential to do untold damage. Careless commentary could leave you in some serious hot water, so try to compartmentalise.
For example, communicate with friends and family on Facebook and keep Twitter and LinkedIn for your professional wheelings and dealings. Just make sure you double check your privacy settings so that picture of you wearing a Superman outfit doesn’t come up in a Google search.
If you do come across something you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see, then remove it. You can also sign up for tracking services like Google alerts to receive an email every time your name is mentioned.
As you should now be aware, the world of online networking has become an important tool in building careers across many sectors. However, don’t get your head stuck so far in cyberspace that you forget to live in the real world too. Still keep an eye on newspaper jobs ads, meet up for coffee with your old colleagues and attend industry functions!