How to Use Social Networking to Boost Your Career or Find a New Job
While we all use social media in varying degrees, many of us don't realize the impact it can have on our career and job search. I've been following career expert Miriam Salpeter on Twitter for a few years now. While we've never met in person, she has become a confidante and friend. She recently published a book, "Social Networking for Career Success", and I highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about leveraging social media for their career.
Who is Miriam?
Miriam Salpeter is owner of Keppie Careers and author of Social Networking for Career Success. A job search and social media coach, she teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to leverage social media, writes traditional and social resumes, and helps clients succeed with their goals. Miriam writes for U.S. News & World Report’s “On Careers” column, CNN named her a “top 10 job tweeter you should be following,” and Monster.com included her in “The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Search.” She blogs at KeppieCareers.com and GetASocialResume.com.
I interviewed Miriam and am hoping that her answers will inspire you and guide you.
JS: You recently published the book "Social Networking for Career Success." Why did you write the book?
MS: As a business owner myself, I built and grew my clientele using social networking. All of my big opportunities (including the invitation to write the book) resulted from my involvement in social media. Tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogging help me demonstrate my expertise to companies and individual clients. I’m passionate about how valuable social media can be for job seekers and business owners, and the book gave me an opportunity to show people (even the skeptics) why and how it can help them, too.
This book is for anyone who cares about their career or business and recognizes visibility is key to success; it’s for new graduates, experienced professionals, and everyone in-between. Social networking is a resource for career changers, job seekers going back to paid work after taking time off, for small business owners, and everyone else who wants to take charge of his or her own career.
JS: For working mothers, why is social networking especially important?
MS: I’d guess working mothers have the least “disposable” time of anyone, but it’s so important to constantly nurture communities of people who know about you, understand your expertise, and care about you and your career.
The great thing about social networking is you can have the benefit of a community and opportunity to engage with people you’d never otherwise know, without having to carve out specific hours from your schedule. When you understand how to use social networking tools efficiently, it’s easy to hone in on the information you need and to interact and keep up with influencers and new contacts on YOUR schedule. Then, you can take things to the next level and ask to meet in person or have a phone conversation.
JS: What about moms who want to re-enter the workforce and might need to start from scratch, what steps should they take?
MS: Social networking makes it possible to expand your network, learn information you might otherwise not know and demonstrate your expertise to a wide audience. For those reasons, it is perfect for “relaunching” moms who are coming back to paid work. The key is to be sure you’re up to speed on current trends, problems, and pain points in your field and quickly begin contributing to the conversation.
The first thing to do is join and create a complete profile on LinkedIn, which is the go-to professional network. (I explain in the book how to write a profile to help attract a targeted audience.) Motivated networking moms should update their status with useful news and advice relevant to their fields and use LinkedIn’s Answers section to demonstrate their expertise. Joining a relevant Group (or, even starting a Group) on LinkedIn, also helps connect with others who have similar interests.
The next step is to learn about Twitter, which is a wonderful resource to expand your network and easily demonstrate your expertise. Ideally, everyone should also consider creating a “social resume,” or personal website, which serves as a hub to showcase their expertise online.
JS: You're a mom. How do you provide career consulting, write for US News & World Report and the Examiner, write a book, and find time for your personal life?
MS: I keep pretty busy, but I love what I do and find social media a huge, energizing asset to my business. For example, instead of being required to constantly travel to interact with job seekers and business owners around the country, I use social media (primarily blogging and Twitter) to showcase my expertise to help other people learn about my business. I save a lot of time, effort, and energy without sacrificing any professional opportunities.
JS: What advice do you have for moms who may only have time for one social networking platform? Which one is your favorite and why?
MS: I always tell people to build a strong LinkedIn profile first. Having a great story as the “Summary,” highlighting your skills and expertise in the “Experience” section, and devising a targeted headline are so important. It doesn’t take too much effort to start growing your number of connections; you may find the connections actually find you.
It depends on your industry and goals, but I really encourage people who can communicate in the short form (140 characters or less) to jump on Twitter and spend the most time there. Twitter is my favorite network, because it makes it easy to demonstrate expertise and to pass along information to an exponential number of listeners. It’s great to help you learn new things, meet potential mentors, and collect advice and resources.
In fact, I have a great story about sharing a silly tweet with a colleague I followed but did not know that resulted in a business opportunity! I’ve “met” new clients while tweeting about sporting events and television shows. You never know who will be that “one person” who will take an interest in you and may even make an introduction that changes your career path! While you’re waiting for that to happen, you can continue to provide insights and make yourself more marketable as a member of a network. It’s win-win!