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Use Social Media to Build Your Network

You’ve probably heard that social media can be a great resource in your job search. We’ve even recommended it a time or two on this blog as a way to improve employability skills.

Social media can be a way to research companies, create a personal brand and stay on top of industry trends. It can also be an excellent way to build your professional network with people you otherwise might not meet. Navigating relationship building on social media can present some challenges though. At a networking event you might go up to someone and simply introduce yourself. But online, reaching out for that first “handshake” can prove more difficult. Bryant & Stratton College Online hosted an Employability Summit in 2013 featuring HR and hiring experts from CareerBuilder, Enterprise, Humana, Marriott International and Microsoft. During that event, Jessica Lee, Director of Digital Talent for Marriott International shared several ways to use social media to grow your network.

Don’t Scream “I’m here, connect with me!” Social media is “bit of an organic process,” said Ms. Lee. Just like you wouldn’t go in to a cocktail party and demand to connect with someone, you can’t force a social media relationship. “You have a little bit of banter, go back and forth, and over time, I think that's where things can grow and flourish,” said Ms. Lee.

Be an active participant There are many opportunities, however, to start a conversation on social media. On Twitter, for example, if you see that someone has shared an article or video you like, you can simply compliment the person or let the poster know you agree with what the post is about, said Ms. Lee. Another idea is to regularly share ideas about the industry or job field you want to enter. Social media is designed to be a two-way street so actively sharing your thoughts is a great way career management strategy and provides an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with others. Just be sure to do it often since you’re only as good as your last post!

Continue relationships IRL Social media is a powerful platform, but don’t forget about in-person networking. If you’re connected with someone on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and know they are going to the same community or industry event as you, be sure to make plans to meet in person (please be sure to do this in a safe, public environment!). Making the effort to connect in person, even if it doesn’t work out, could be valuable to making a stronger connection. The most important thing to remember about growing your network through social media is to apply the same principles you would if you were meeting someone in person. Be polite, be engaging, offer your opinion when you can, and share ideas and thoughts that add value to a conversation. The big advantage online is that people may be more receptive to starting a conversation than in person.

“People have their guards down a bit when it comes to social media and using it from a professional perspective,” said Ms. Lee. “So you have this huge potential to just begin building relationships and seeing where it might lead.”

Bryant & Stratton College Online is dedicated to helping students improve their employability skills and become job ready. Through outcomes-based education and career training, Bryant & Stratton College Online helps students learn the technical skills as well as the soft skills they’ll need to be successful in a career.

If you are interested in learning more about the online degree programs at Bryant & Stratton College Online, please call 1.888.447.3528 to speak with an admissions representative.


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