Use Social Media to Accomplish
Your Career Goals
Opportunities to connect and interact online have exploded
as entrepreneurs have used
technology to create and expand the World Wide Web's social
media space. Initially, the
terminology and website names may be as unfamiliar as a new
foreign language. But, by familiarizing yourself with the
variety and purposes of the different types of social media,
will be able to determine how to leverage them to your advantage.
Do your homework
"Web 2.0" and "social media" are umbrella terms used to describe
a variety of applications
that facilitate interactive information sharing and collaboration
on the internet. Understand
what type of information you want to share and the best types
of sites to use. Because the information is shared and remains
in the public sphere for potentially years, selecting
appropriate, site-relevant and accurate information is important
for the "identity" you are
creating for yourself. Each site has a set of protocols or
etiquette that must be followed.
These sites host professional profiles of contacts for business
networking.You can build connections with people you know
through work, school or
volunteer work. Members may also share information about communities
projects or areas of interest. This is more selective. You
don't want to try to connect to
people you don't know or you can be dropped.
Millions of blogs exist today, websites that offer regular
entries of commentary,
news, pictures, music, audio, and video. Blogs may be personal
in nature, on particular
topics, aimed at particular audiences, or sponsored by companies
or organizations. An
important part of many blogs is the ability for readers to
interact and comment on the entries.
A micro-blog, Twitter is typically used to stay current on
specific topics or people,
or from a professional standpoint, those who are knowledgeable
in different industries,
specific subjects, politics, or the arts. Entries are short
- 140 characters or less. You can
simply follow to stay informed; it is not necessary for someone
to connect back to you.
Historically, Facebook has been used for staying connected
to friends and
family. You have more control over who you allow access, but
remember once access
is granted, the information is shared with everyone. Now businesses,
not-for-profit organizations are allowed to create Facebook
Pages as brand profiles
to build communities of Fans for communication and marketing
A site where anyone can upload videos of all kinds and allow
them to be
shared. Others can comment on videos, rank them, or upload
a video response.
These are two of several social resume community sites
where you can build your resume, then upload it for others
to review it and make
suggestions for improvement.
a web-based encyclopedia, provides a good overview of social
though in true Web. 2.0 collaborative style, the article is
a work in progress.
Clarify your goals
One of Stephen Covey's habits of highly effective people
is:"Begin with the end in mind."
Social media are a means to an end, not the end itself. Before
tackling the array of
options available, it is important to define what you want
to accomplish through the
use of Web 2.0 tools. This is important because you are beginning
to establish your
online identity or "brand." Here are some questions to consider
as you decide where
you want to begin:
1. Is this for fun or for professional purposes?
We will explore more professional considerations below.
However, if you begin for fun, remember that it is hard
eliminate something once it is posted.
2. For what do you want to be known for as a professional
in your field? Identify strengths and areas of expertise,
especially if you are proficient in a leading edge technology
3. What do you want to learn about? Identify new
developments in or related to your career field or job function.
4. From whom would you like to learn? Identify leaders
in your field, local experts
as well as national and international authorities. Do they
have a blog? Are they tweeting on Twitter?
5. How much time do you plan to invest? Staying connected requires a commitment.
Don't try to do it all at once, and be sure to see how it fits in your priorities.
Address time, place and security issues
These are interactive technologies, and beware - they can
absorb your curiosity and time
quickly. Like any technology, social media can be used in
productive or unproductive ways.
Once you decide which social media to use based on your goals,
create a strategy to monitor,
update and interact online.
Deciding where to access sites is also important. Your employer
may restrict access to
these sites, and companies do have a right to monitor the
online activity of employees.
When social media is used and encouraged by a company, make
sure that you are
following the guidelines established and using time at work
for job or company-related
tasks. Leave the socializing and your individual professional
networking for outside
Is it wise to allow access to all internet-based information
about oneself? Of course,
avid social media types would advocate that more is better;
but not necessarily so. You
may choose to keep personal networking sites and information
accessible to friends
only, so colleagues, potential employers and recruiters see
your professional side only.
On the other hand, many young adults tend to combine personal
purposes for their Facebook or Twitter accounts. They need
to manage their online
presence by monitoring the type of information they share.
And you would be wise to
keep track of where you have created online profiles and update
them as necessary to
keep them current.
Learning the ropes
To learn how to use social media sites, click on the online
Help or FAQs on the site itself,
or perform an online search using the name of the site and
"how to use" as keywords.
There are a variety of websites, videos and slide presentations
that explain the basics or
offer online tutorials to get you started. Getting a good
foundation now can keep you
Social media have provided some exciting ways to create a
professional presence by
connecting and interacting with others across the internet.
By knowing how to use these
sites and technologies safely and to one's advantage, you
can expand your connectivity
with others and enhance your career.
© Copyright 2009, Career Vision. Article may be reprinted