Professional Social Networks: Waste of Time or Beneficial?Most of us will have grown up with the internet and social networks; from the days of Myspace to the arrival of Facebook, Twitter a...">
Professional Social Networks: Waste of Time or Beneficial? By Simon Thompson
Most of us will have grown up with the internet and social networks; from the days of Myspace to the arrival of Facebook, Twitter and professional networks such as LinkedIn. Nowadays, students and young professionals are using social networks as much for fun as for career purposes. Perhaps you already have a profile on a professional network but feel as though it's a waste of time, or you've thought about creating one but are feeling dubious about the benefits. In this article, find out why being present online is important for your career, which professional social network is right for you and the steps to take to make sure creating a profile isn't a waste of time.
Firstly, put an end to your misconceptions!
Don't worry, you don't need to have 10 years of experience, hundreds of positive recommendations or a network of 500 people in order to sign up and be active on professional social networks. There's a first time for everything and it's a good idea to take a look at the different professional networks available to help you decide which one suits you best.
So, why should you use a professional social network?
Your online presence can help you gain access to great opportunities you might not have found otherwise. But how? Being present online allows you to:
♦ Maintain and develop your network
♦ Invest in your online reputation. Did you know that 77% of recruiters type a candidate's name into Google to find out more about them?
♦ Be recruited by other means. Headhunters often have free access to profiles on social networks as they are public.
♦ Add value to different skills and experience that don't fit onto a classic CV. On Wizbii, for example, young people who don't have much work experience can add volunteer work and soft skills, putting more emphasis on personality.
Which professional network should I choose?
Many different professional networks exist, and it's important to choose the right one(s) to suit your profile. Young people in particular have a large choice of different networks, tailored to their age group, job and even gender.
Despite LinkedIn's relatively high user age (44 years old), the site recently launched a homepage to help students develop their professional future. LinkedIn's "Student Hub" provides tips on how to make the most of the platform: create a profile during your first year at university, update it regularly, participate in conversations and forums and join company pages.
A network to keep an eye out for isWizbiiand their blog, The Daily Wiz, which provides advice for students and young professionals, from how to make your CV attractive to dressing for a job interview. On this professional social network you can find job, internship and placement opportunities requiring very little experience at top companies in the UK and abroad.
Most employment websites now offer a space dedicated to young people offering advice on how to find an internship or first job. You can find excellent professional advice about the financial sector on efinancialcareers, graduate jobs in accounting and finance and more.
Facebook can be used for more than just posting holiday photos. Your profile is visible and accessible to future employers, so make sure you update your skills, experience and profile picture. Avoid compromising photos, bad language and grammar mistakes. These little details will allow you to present a good image of yourself.
How to make the most of your profile and attract employers
First things first: a completed profile
Your profile should be clear and easy to read, with a professional photo - avoid using a selfie! Complete all sections of your profile including the summary, which is very important as it is the first thing employers will read, a kind of "prologue" to your CV... it should make the recruiter want to read on and find out more about your qualifications, experience and skills. Use bullet points to list your professional experience and past jobs and make sure you list the various skills and knowledge you have acquired through your professional experience and education.
Next, make your profile come alive
The more active you are on the network, the more your profile will be viewed, increasing your chances of being recruited! Try to sign in at least once a day in order to stay up to date with the latest news and articles.
Being "active" also means being productive. Post in groups, comment or "like" other posts, congratulate others for their new jobs and endorse their skills.
Professional social networks are vital for any professional, experienced or otherwise. They are adapting to suit the needs of young professionals and can be extremely beneficial if used correctly. Mix different types of networks, use them to learn, stay up to date with the latest employment news and hopefully find the job of your dreams!
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