How to Skyrocket Your Career Using the Social Web

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I think most of us have had it with clicking through job postings. There has to be a better way to find a job and jump start your career in this digital age, right? Well, there is! With the social web, there are many new ways to increase your visibility and connect to the right professional opportunities every time you log on. So take a break from the chatting, flirting, and connecting with old high school friends on Facebook, and think of social media as a career enhancer. I’ve tapped into some of the best social media minds online and gathered 7 ways to get you started.

1. Clean It Up

A recent CareerBuilder.com study stated that 38% of hiring managers search through Facebook and other social networks to research the backgrounds of job candidates. Hello Big Brother! According to Brian Solis, author of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, and blogger at PR 2, “Everything starts and fortifies with you. Your actions and words online are indeed extensions to how people interpret, perceive, and react to the brand your represent.” Make sure everything you put on a social website reflects the image you want represented to others. Everytime you send out a tweet or status update think, “Will this help or hurt me in the job market?”

2. Start Contributing

When hiring managers research your background online, wouldn’t it be nice if they came across an article, blog posting, or Tweet that showed them how knowledgeable you are in your field? Start developing content about your passion. Sure, there are thousands of blogs and authors out there, but no one is exactly like you. J.D. Lasica, founder of socialmedia.biz, adds, “Find a niche you want to write about or create video about, and launch a blog that offers some depth, original thinking, and a personalized, professional (not
cookie-cutter) look. Ask a trusted friend if you’re on the right track.”

3. Build Your Twitter Following

How do you get your number of Twitter followers up? When you follow someone on Twitter, chances are they will follow you back. Find people who share your interests online using sites like Tweetdeck, and start connecting. Build your Twitter following so you have another vehicle to promote your endeavors and seek career help. David Blumenstein, CEO of the Hatchery, is a web genius from way back in the day and actually owns david.com. He says, “The social web should be seen as a conduit, a means of publicizing and promoting, building awareness… careers are built on success. Herald that success using any number of elements tied to the social web.”

4. Be Consistent

Not only should you produce great content, but do it on a consistent basis. Chris Brogan, president of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency, is the perfect example. “There are millions of people who produce great content, but Chris did it everyday for the last five years, whereas others may only do it a few times. Because of this, he is now a New York Times best-selling author, highly sought after speaker, and consults with some of the best companies in the world. Not a bad gig for being consistent and writing everyday, huh? “The more consistent you are with your actions, the faster your career
will grow,” points out LinkedIn expert Lewis Howes.

5. Don’t Act

It doesn’t matter if you are promoting a brand or yourself. Be authentic and transparent. Don’t pretend you’re something or someone you aren’t. People want to hear from a real person. Aliza Sherman, social media consultant with Conversify, adds, “Decide what qualities define your personal brand, and stick with them. How can you convey those qualities (such as ‘critical thinker’ or ‘leader’) into blog content, focused tweets, and your Facebook updates? A combination of crafted and spontaneous messages can help hone your social media image. Create a Facebook page for yourself, and get your friends, former coworkers, and even family members to be your fans. Let your confidence shine through.”

6. Get a Social Resume

There are many social resumé sites out there, and the daddy of them all is LinkedIn. But other sites exist, such as WorkScore and ResumeSocial. Sherman says, “If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, get one. Fill it out 100%, and invite everyone you meet at networking events who you think are good career leads for you to connect. And in your invitation, tell them exactly why you want to connect so your intentions are clear.”

7. Get Out There

Build the bridges you created online in the real world, too. Go to your Facebook events and Tweetups, and connect with the people in your online network. Juliette Powell, author of 33 Million People in the Room: How to Create, Influence, and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking (Financial Times Press, 2009) notes,” Keep strengthening your social ties until your influence begins to spread.

When your influence spreads beyond immediate social circles, your social capital turns into cultural capital, which eventually attracts financial success.”

Whether, you’re a social media expert with thousands of friends and followers or someone who still doesn’t see the point of Twitter, the social web is a great professional resource for you. Take advantage of the ability to help promote your projects and personal brand, and get ready to propel your career to new heights. Oh, and you can follow me too on Twitter at ilanadonna.