How Can You Use Social Media To Enhance Your Career?When you are either looking for a new job or career or working hard to build up the one you have, social media can be a huge help if you do it right.

Social media participation is an essential tool in networking with potential professional contacts, staying in touch with current and former contacts, recruiting employees, advancing your career, and keeping in touch with the world.

If used incorrectly, social media could actually cost you a job opportunity, your job and/or unexpectedly damage your career.

Your behavior after work can harm your current/future job or career. Be sure not to post any offensive or hurtful things and keep your opinions to yourself about your workplace or former jobs.  Everyone knows everyone to some degree so it most likely WILL get back to your boss if you are posting inappropriately.  This is especially true if you are a college student.  A student in my community was almost kicked out of a program because of comments made on Facebook about an experience she had during the semester.  I know of a nurse in another state who lost her job because of something placed on twitter.

Should you be accessing Facebook or Twitter while on the job? Research suggests a good number of workplaces are actually banning employees from visiting social networking sites for any reason while on the job. Your boss is paying you for your expertise and hard work, not to watch you scroll through Facebook all day!

Social networking sites are great for keeping up with friends across the globe and can also be helpful when you are job searching. Here are some top social and professional networking sites you can use to enhance your career and boost your job search:

  • LinkedIn – Use LinkedIn as part of your job search, to increase your visibility and connections, so employers and recruiters can easily locate and contact you.
  • Facebook – Set up your privacy settings so only certain people, of your choosing, can view your profile.
  • Twitter –Twitter has become more and more important, but to get the most bang for your buck, you’ve got to be smart about how you use it. When you’re seeking employment, Twitter can be an effective part of your job search strategy. Use it in conjunction with LinkedIn, job search engines, and other job sites, to help you make connections, find job listings, and build a personal brand that will help boost your career and expedite your job search.

You may want to set different goals for different sites.  Perhaps you leave Facebook as your family/friend site (still keep it professional) and Linked In as your career networking site.

Take time to explore the various platforms and decide what works best for you.  Be sure to put in the time to expand your knowledge about that site and how it works.