When it comes to your career, there are a number of tools available. And you need all the tools you can get in the current economy. The good news is that technology is providing us with a number of useful tools for online career networking. Networking isn’t just about going to a job fair, alumni event, or local business activity. Some of your career networking can be done online. Here are 5 tips that you can use to improve your online career networking efforts:
1. Create a Professional, Consistent Profile
Before you set up your account at LinkedIn, Ecademy or Twitter, you need to consider what your profile will look like. If you plan to use the Internet for career networking, you can’t be anonymous, and you need to showcase your professionalism. Think about how to make your profile consistent and professional. You don’t have to be boring, but you should appear to be someone an employer would want to hire. Use a consistent profile, with the same image, so that you are easily identified as you build your presence as part of your job search.
2. Find People to Follow
This is especially important on Twitter. Search for the accounts of people that you look up to in the field, or that seem to be players. If you want to work at a certain company, look for a representative of that company. Follow those people, and pay attention to what they are saying. You can retweet some of the more interesting tidbits, as well as make comments that can show your knowledge of the industry.
3. Be Engaged Online
Just as you need to be engaged in your offline networking efforts, you need to engage your online network. Stay current with your network happenings, and contribute when you can. If you are willing to help others, others will be more willing to help you. Also, keep in touch with members of your online network. Contribute meaningfully to discussions so that others can see your intelligence and capability.
4. Be Honest and Sincere
As you build an online career network and an online community, you need to be honest and sincere. Don’t be someone you’re not. Be as authentic as possible; people will respond to that. Besides, you will likely have to meet some members of your online network in person at some point. You don’t want them to be surprised at who you are. Don’t over promise, and do what you say you will do. Part of online career networking is building up a reputation for honesty, and being able to bear that out even if you go offline.
5. Have an Online Home Base
Create some sort of online base that can be visited. You can include it in your social media profiles, and it makes it easier for others to find out how to contact you, and maybe see samples of your work. An online home base can be Facebook page, a regularly updated blog, or a web site. The important thing is to have a centralized place to showcase your expertise and abilities, as well as make it easy for others to contact you so that you can make more money.