Why Social Connections Are Important For Career Development

 Image Credit: Canva

Image Credit: Canva

Are you one of the many people who are searching for a modern and effective method to develop your career and enhance your career prospects? If so, then the answer you have been looking for is much closer than you might have thought. In today’s technological and socially driven world, your social connections and your online social media presence can be integral to finding, and even securing, your dream job. It’s important to learn why social connections are so important in getting ahead in your career, how to form these connections, and how to increase your social media presence in a positive way. 

Why so important? 
Social connections can play a huge role in furthering your career development if you utilize them properly. Have you ever been made aware of a potential job or intern opportunity by a friend or acquaintance? Well, you’re not alone. Many people ascribe their social connections as being their main source for learning about potential career opportunities. Social connections also allow you to tap into the hidden job market, and to learn about available jobs that are not advertised publicly but are circulated and attained through social connections. Lastly, the social connections that you have now can lead to you meeting and form social connections with people who are influential and well-respected in your chosen career field.

How to form these connections?
Before you begin to form more social connections, it is important that you understand the value of the social connections you have now. Even if you are not the most social of butterflies, you will undoubtedly already have a wide range of social connections in the form of family, friends, colleagues/schoolmates, and acquaintances. As mentioned before, these social connections will probably play a large role in your learning about available job opportunities. 

In order to form social connections with people involved in your chosen career path, and potential employers, you’re going to need to reach out. A fantastic way to do this is through conducting a short “Informational Interview’ with a figure of interest in your chosen field and ask them questions about the industry, and their experience within it. This will give you a better understanding of your chosen career path, and you will also be building a social connection with an influential person in your field. At the end of the interview, do not forget to take down their contact details, and to ask for any additional contacts. Another way of meeting new people that are involved within your career path is through conferences, job fairs, and other social events. As you work the room, make sure you leave a good impression by displaying your enthusiasm and knowledge of your career path.
 
Use social media to your advantage. 
In today’s increasingly technologically-driven world, you can use social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, to help you find a job, and be more attractive to a potential employer. In a Jobvite survey of social media recruiting, results showed that around 96% of employers used LinkedIn to search for job candidates, while 94% used it to contact candidates. When making your LinkedIn profile attractive to employers, start with the basics: a professional profile photo, a list of connections, an effective summary, and your full experience. To further enhance your profile, check out this blog for further hints and tricks: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/23454/The-Ultimate-Cheat-Sheet-for-Mastering-LinkedIn.aspx

Now that potential employers have found and/or contacted you via social media, they will probably want to learn more about you by checking out your more personal social media profiles. Therefore, it is important that you personalize your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest profiles (and other media profiles you have) to reflect your interests and personality. When it comes Twitter and Pinterest, tweet and pin things that are relevant to some of the ideas and interests that you already discussed in your resume/CV. The point of this is to back up what you wrote in your resume/CV, and give the employer a clear impression of who you are. Facebook is also very important to how you will be viewed and judged by your employer. With this in mind, do not post any lewd posts or pictures of yourself to Facebook, and always untag yourself from any photos that present you in an unsavory light.  

When searching for a new way to develop our careers, sometimes we must turn to the most important connections we have -  the ones with other people. What we don’t realize is that the social connections that we take for granted, and the social media that we use every day, can actually be one of the most important factors in career development.