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Brand Yourself With Social Media

Dear J.T. & Dale: Let's say I'm an unemployed older professional who has only basic Internet skills. I'm told I MUST network to find a new job and MUST include social media. But the list goes on and on - Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, blogging, etc. Argh. Are they all essential? Could I, for example, just pick two? - Cynthia J.T.: That's a great idea, Cynthia - pick two of the social media and do them well. It's better to maximize the potential of a couple of resources than spread yourself too thin. DALE: One of the two should be LinkedIn, so let's call it LinkedIn plus one other. J.T.: Yes, you must include LinkedIn - not only is it relatively easy to set up and use, it's the most popular among business professionals. You'll create a profile, and make sure you do all that it takes to reach 100 percent completeness - if you don't, you won't show up in recruiters' searches for candidates with your skill set. Next, start exploring groups on LinkedIn that are related to your field. You'll find that these are very similar to association and chamber meetings. Your goals should be to establish connections and to try to set up informational interviews with people working at companies you admire. Next, I would suggest that you find one or two industry-related blogs and start reading them, just like you would the daily newspaper. Eventually, you should start to contribute comments. Not just any comments; you should add value to the blogger's remarks and showcase your professional knowledge and savvy. This will establish your credibility and help get your online brand recognized. DALE: I'm sure, Cynthia, the notion of having an "online brand" boggles your imagination, but that's the world we live in. Someone interested in hiring you is likely to do a Google search on you, and those blog comments offer an employer a glimpse into your education, professional style and passions. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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