Social networking websites are free services that allow you and all the people you know—and all the people they know—to connect. Using a social networking website can be a good way to stay in touch with your networks.
Benefit from an online presence
- create a personal profile that functions like a home page
- post images, notes or articles to the people in your network who use the same site. You can also invite others to join your network
- receive news, messages and images from the people in your network and invitations to join other people’s networks
- contact a person you don’t know through someone you both know
Know your online networking options
Online networks offer different formats to different types of audiences. Some of the most popular online networking options include:
- Social networking websites are mainly used to connect with friends. But they can also be used to let your contacts know you’re looking for work.
- Professional networking websites can outline your background, skills and experience. They can also help you expand your network.
- Video and photo sharing websites can showcase your work or allow you to stay in touch with contacts.
- Blogs can help you share your thoughts, show off your expertise or develop your individual brand.
- Forums and online communities will let you talk to larger groups and learn about different organizations. These are hosted by professional associations, alumni groups, unions, subject matter experts, and others.
Manage your social networks wisely
- Make sure your profile page and postings are appropriate. Future and current employers could read your profile.
- If you’re currently employed, remember that your employer may access the website. Keep your work search confidential by asking your contacts for advice and information. Stay away from asking directly for work or job leads.
- If you’re not currently employed, tell your contacts you’re looking for work. Tell them about your skills and accomplishments.
- Join groups or networks on the website that reflect your career and leisure interests to expand your network.
- Use site features to support your work search. These can include creating a professional profile, posting a resumé or tagging your skills using keywords.
- Change the privacy settings to control who has access to specific areas of your profile. It’s a good idea to allow only close friends to comment on your blog entries.
- Be a resource for the people in your network. Tell your contacts about jobs or events that will interest them.