Career XL 
build your network, career,future & success.

Using Social Networks, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter
Putting LinkedIn to Work

If you are new to Linked In start with our page, Getting Started with LinkedIn to get started and build your profile.  Once your profile is built and you have connected with all of your obvious contacts, then it's time to really put LinkedIn to work and start networking. 

Up to this point you have basically used LinkedIn as a Rolodex (wow, that's an old term) or database of your existing contacts, now its time to start building new relationships.  Note that I said relationships.  It does no good to add a bunch of names to your LinkedIn profile if these people are real contacts and people you have a relationship with.  If you can't rely on them to provide you with a referral or network with you, why bother to connect with them.

7 Steps to Expanding Your LinkedIn network:
  1. Make sure your profile is complete - I mean REALLY complete.  LinkedIn searches your past companies and schools for possible contacts.  If you have not entered ALL of your work history and education information you will miss out on suggested contacts. 
  2. Invite friends and contacts that are not on LinkedIn yet. 
  3. Join groups that are of interest to you.  You can join professional groups and personal interest groups,  both are great ways to meet people.  Note that most schools have alumni groups and many companies have groups too.  Even churches have groups!
  4. Contribute - participate in group discussions, answer questions if you have meaningful input or expertise.
  5. Ask questions - you can use the groups to get advice from people all over the world and build contacts in the process.
  6. Be patient.  First you must build relationships by contributing and being present.  Online relationships are built just like face to face relationships, over time and with trust.
  7. And by the way, many employers now check LinkedIn when screening candidates as well as when searching for candidates, so back to step 1, make sure your profile is complete.
FaceBook... it's more than just visiting with friends.

The general perception of Facebook is that it is where teens,  college students, and twenty somethings hang out on line and stay in touch with each other.  While this is how Facebook got started and still represents a big part of the population, the fastest growing segment of Facebook users are people over 40. 

Companies are finally "discovering" Facebook and now use it to promote their brand presence and image.  But beware, many companies now do searches on Facebook to take a peek at their prospective employees background.  So you may want to think about what you post and check those security settings.

Here's a great article How to Use Facebook for professional networking from Mashable.com.

How to Use Facebook for Networking. 

Join Facebook

My Blog on Social Network Background Checks

Some basic tips for Facbook:
  1. Be careful what you post.  If you post it, assume that someday, somehow it could become public and be reviewed by a prospective employer. 
  2. Check your security and viewing settings CAREFULLY.  You can select who has access to what and you should pay close attention to this.  You do want some of your information to be searchable or you won't find found. Likewise, some information you may want to keep private and just for friends. 
  3. Set up separate lists for Friends, Family, and Professional - each with different viewing priviledges.
  4. Join some groups that are of interest to you and participate in the discussion.
  5. Have fun!
Using Twitter for more than idle chat

Twitter is a social network that, like Facebook, is rapidly evolving.  Twitter has gone way beyond the casual "what are you doing" tweets and now has on going mini-blog dialogs going on, all in less than 140 characters! 

On going dialogs going on 24/7 about everything from politics to technology, to what's going on in the latest episodes on top TV shows.  Because Twitter has such a wide reach and so many users, recent estimates are over 44 million unique users and climbing daily, it can be a great networking tool. 

In many respects Twitter is like a mini-blog and as such there are some protocols and etiquette that you should observe in order to build a network.  Here are some basics and below are some links with more information:

  1. Be genuine & authentic.
  2. No Spam.
  3. Contribute - remember networking is give, give, give, give, give and then get.  You must contribute first.
  4. Learn the rules of the road, follow the dialog, read up on using Twitter, learn to use the unique terms such as RT (retweet), # hash tag, etc and the standard abbreviations.
  5. Never take credit for someone else's Tweet, that's what retweets are for and they are appreciated (you'll make a friend).
  6. DMs - word of caution.  A DM is a direct message.  They are tempting to use because they go directly to the other user and are private.  ONLY send DMs to people you know well, and use them sparingly.  In fact, most prefer that you do not use DMs at all since the message also goes to their email.
  7. Most importantly... Have fun!

Some helpful links with info on Twitter

Join Twitter

Follow me on Twitter

The Twitter Guidebook

50 Tips to Become a Pro on Twitter

Top 7 YouTube tutorials for Twitter.

Mashable.com Twitter list - resources and how to's for Twitter. 
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