September 22, 2011
How connected are you? Do you have a Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter account? About 90% of job seekers have LinkedIn profiles but social media is more than just having a profile. It's about engaging with others and participating in online conversations.
In a series of blog posts we will explore how EH&S professionals are using social media to expand their network, search for jobs, and develop professionally. First, here are 3 reasons you should be using social media.
1. Social media is an easy way to stay informed.
People are sharing all kinds of information from what they ate for lunch to the latest regulatory news. Many of us are already on Facebook as a way to stay in touch with friends and family. But how can you use it to advance your career? If you follow or like subject matter experts, their updates will appear in your news feed. So as you're socializing with an old buddy on Facebook, you are also staying informed on the latest regulatory or association news. Search for relevant groups to join on Facebook and LinkedIn or search by keywords to find subject matter experts on Twitter.
2. Social media allows you to exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.
The beauty of social media is its ability to connect people with similar interests or who have common backgrounds. You are no longer limited to the face-to-face contacts you make through work or industry association events. With social media, you can connect with EH&S professionals from around the world. Do you blog about EH&S issues? Share it with people in your network by posting or tweeting your most recent post. Exchanging information is what social media is all about. But don't forget to maintain your face-to-face relationships because they will always trump your virtual contacts.
3. With social media, you can build a virtual, interactive resume.
Your online activity leaves a trail for others to follow. When people visit your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profile, they will see a snapshot of you and the topics you are passionate about. LinkedIn makes it simple; your profile is literally a virtual resume. Facebook and Twitter are less structured yet more interactive. Post links to your presentations, blog, and events you are attending. Sharing these resources invites people to start conversations and makes your profile an interactive resume.
Important Advice: If you decide to use Facebook and Twitter for professional networking, carefully review your profile and decide what you want business contacts or prospective employers to see and what you don't. Within Facebook, you can create Groups to partition your information but be aware that anything you post online can come back to haunt you so be discreet. Also, use your real name when creating your profile so contacts can easily find you.
Ready to get started with social media? Here are a few EH&S resources you might find interesting. Take a look and engage with those that seem most relevant.
*Each EPA region also has a Facebook page.