How Social Media Savvy and Personal Online Branding Separates the Needle from the Haystack

The other social network you need to start using if you haven’t already is LinkedIn. When it first launched in 2003, I remember looking at LinkedIn as the social media outcast, thinking it more as the ultra-dry counterpart to Facebook than what it really was….the ultimate business card data pool. Where LinkedIn is now is just astounding. According to the company website, the platform has 161 Million users worldwide, counts executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members, has more than 2 million companies active on the site, and its corporate hiring solutions are used by 82 of the Fortune 100 companies. Crazy right?   Couple that with statistics from GlobalSpec which showed that participation on LinkedIn grew from 37% to 55% throughout the past year, and what was once a “dry” social media site is now one of the fastest growing, most useful networking tools in social media history.  If you don’t have an account yet, it is surely in your best interest to create one.  My tip to you is to sign up, create an account, and begin finding the people in your industry that you look up to (e.g CEOs, VPs, Entrepreneurs). Once you find them, connect via the website with something as easy as this: “I’m just out of college and interested in a career in ___. Seeing that I’m just getting my feet wet, I was hoping I might be able to set up an informational meeting at some point”. You’ve now forgone the email process, minimizing the chance that your outreach will go unnoticed, and best of all, when they do connect, your information will be in their network pool forever. How’s that for efficient?

2.      Google Yourself and Be Prepared to Wince

According to a recent MSU survey, 36% of companies are currently using social media to recruit. That’s right, a third of all companies out there are jumping on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and doing their due diligence to search the backgrounds of potential employees who they expect to fit neatly into the company culture. So remember that photo you used of you and your friend getting hammered in Cancun as your profile pic? How about the day you got angry at the world and figured Twitter was the best place to let off some expletive filled steam?  Well guess what? Those little snippets of social history are living very comfortably on the web and are easily searchable by very little more than a web or image search on Google.  Gems like these will ensure that you’ll never get that interview. It’s high time you start cleaning up your social media act, and soon. Delete the embarrassing pics on Facebook, the provocative video on YouTube, and the irate 140 character rant on Twitter. You’ll thank me later; believe me.

3.      Don’t be a bench warmer, get out there and play the game

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