6 Dec
2012

Guest post: Evaluate your online persona to boost your career prospects

It’s a tricky employment landscape nowadays. People are still constantly challenged to find permanent employment so they can enjoy some career stability. One tool that many are using in order to fire up their career pathways is social media.

Social media isn’t just about networking with your friends or previous teachers in order to get the professional connections you need to get ahead; very often, it’s also about making the right searches and posting the “right thing.”

Identify your current presence online.

Social media can help you discover how to leverage yourself as a powerful marketing tool, firstly by giving you an opportunity to figure out what your own situation really is. There are only so many hours in a day, and particularly if you have children, you may find that you have neither the time or energy to devote to a full exploration of your job prospects on social media. You also have to decide what, if any, social media tools are ideal for highlighting your strengths.

It’s important to take a look at your circle of friends on your social media network. It’s possible that some of the people you have thought were great to have on your friends list are actually not assets to your overall social brand. You have to recognize what enhances your strengths and what detracts from those, and it may very well be that the people you have on your friends list, your status updates, and even your avatar or profile picture are all wildly inappropriate for the professional image you’re trying to convey.

Choose the right network.

Also, most people who report great success in using social media to improve their career prospects also realize that there is life beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Look at what you’re trying to achieve, and in what field.

There are social networks targeted to specific careers; real estate agents, for instance, may join Active Rain, a network devoted exclusively to those working in the real estate field. You may find that Facebook and even LinkedIn — which has a considerably narrow audience compared to Facebook — have audiences that are far too broad for any sort of successful career pursuit.

Monitor your reputation.

Probably the best advice, though, is to recognize the importance of monitoring what people are saying about you. That may not be readily apparent simply by scanning a wide range of status updates. Again, it’s important to use the tools at your disposal. Make use of Google Alerts or search.twitter.com in order to get a clear picture of what, exactly, is going on.

The bottom line is, it’s important to leverage the advantages of using your social media tools. It’s a delicate field to balance in today’s very modern, busy world. You know how tricky the employment landscape is in the 21st century; it’s up to you to use the right tools in order to successfully give your career a needed boost.

Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become, a career and recruitment specialist. Over the last seven years, Richard has written a number of books and helped applicants prepare for and pass recruitment processes in order to secure their dream job.

Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan on Flickr