Social Media 101: Career Connections
Social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be used to aid your career. Learn how to ensure these online tools help — not hinder — you professionally.
February 18, 2010
Social media sites can significantly aid your career if you use them to broaden your professional network and showcase your industry expertise. But they can hold you back if you’re not careful about managing your so-called “digital footprint.” As sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter continue evolving and growing in popularity, the list of potential pitfalls to watch out for is expanding, too. Following are tips on using these online tools to help — not hinder — you professionally:
Finally, be mindful that social media should supplement — not replace — traditional networking approaches. While you may have used Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to find new contacts or renew ties with former colleagues and classmates, having occasional face-to-face interaction or a telephone conversation with these people remains critical to solidifying the connections.
Social Media Sites: A Look at the Big Three
LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media sites, but they are far and away the most prominent at the moment. Here’s a quick overview:
LinkedIn: The world’s largest professional networking site is designed for keeping in touch with business contacts, not friends and family. Members create a personalized profile page (essentially an all-purpose resume) describing their employment history, educational background, skills, credentials and professional interests. Members also post recommendations from people they’ve worked with. These testimonials give hiring managers additional insight into a person’s qualifications, work ethic and personality. In addition, LinkedIn is a good way to connect with recruiters and employers. Join our company’s LinkedIn discussion group.
Facebook: Facebook started primarily as a social networking site for telling friends what you’re up to, sharing photos, playing games and participating in groups based on similar interests. However, many people today use the site for career-building purposes. If you’re on Facebook for both personal and professional reasons, familiarize yourself with the “Privacy Settings” page. Consider creating a separate “work” list and limiting the content available to those contacts. In addition, some companies and trade groups maintain “Fan” pages on Facebook, which can give accounting professionals a better sense of a group’s personality and corporate culture, as well as provide useful industry information. Check out our company Facebook page.
Twitter: Twitter lets you write short posts — called “tweets” — limited to just 140 characters. The site is all about brevity, allowing space for only a heavily condensed bio. One goal is to attract “followers” who read your updates. The other objective is to gain information by “following” others. Following noted accounting experts is a great way to keep up with current conversations in your area of specialization — and find other people who share your professional interests. In addition, many organizations have Twitter feeds, which they use to share job postings, comment on industry news, make announcements or post links to relevant articles. For example, check out Twitter.com/RobertHalfFA and Twitter.com/AICPANews.
Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International, is one of the world’s first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. The company has more than 360 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.roberthalf.com.