Seven Surprising Social Networking Opportunities

In this digital age it is important, to not only maintain a positive personal image, but also a professional online image for both future employers and professional development when networking.
When considering your professional development think through what your online presence consists of, and if that is the personal brand you would like on display to others. Once you have perfected your professional online presence, here are some sites to help build your network:

  1. Google+ often overlooked this is such a vital resource, anyone with a Gmail account can access this feature within their settings. This tool is extremely helpful because it allows you to use your contacts as points of reference for networking.
    • To maximize your networking opportunity make sure you enable contact sync when using this feature. This will allow you to see who you already know with an account, creating more connections.
    • Another important aspect of branding is the image you choose to use. Your profile image should be an appropriate image with minimal distractions in the background.
  2. Professional blog if you enjoy writing or are interested in it, starting a blog is an original way to get exposure. Building up a good following of readers can both benefit your business and help to develop a platform for networking. Demonstrating your extensive industry knowledge is an excellent way to develop your professional brand.
    • When blogging language used tends to be more conversational. It is important to keep in mind however, that this is your personal image. Keep the focus of your page on your area of interest.
    • Keep images neutral and light, the focus of your piece should be the writing. The images can act as a draw but remember the purpose it to develop yourself as a professional.
  3. Meetup is a unique professional development site as it connects you to individuals in your own community and links you to local opportunities. Through this you can search for opportunities online but build meaningful, long-lasting connections in person.
    • Your online profile is the first impression you will make so having a strong biography statement and a clear expression of interests will benefit you.
    • Be honest on your profile in order to best develop yourself professionally, meeting individuals with common goals.
  4. Instagram while typically a social media platform is a site that can be used to show off your talent, attract possible employers, or even expose you up to a brand new industry. Having a separate account reserved for your professional development can act as an online history of your progress.
    • Instagram is all about branding and reaching targeted audiences, a good way to start is by following accounts with similar topics and people you already know.
    • Posting frequently is a great way to stay engaged with your network and attract new followers, boosting your personal brand.
  5. Professional website one great way to build your network while developing yourself as a professional. With many free website generators like Wix, Weebly, and more the possibilities are endless. Keeping your website regularly updated, showcasing your most recent success can benefit your future employment.
    • The website generators listed above are fairly simple to use with tutorials and instructions to help you customize your website.
    • When creating the web address make sure the domain name is appropriate. Try to choose a name that would be easy for users to search and fits the theme of your writing.
  6. Opportunity is a tool built within a business network which can act as a resource in connecting you to other professionals within your industry of interest. Through meeting other professionals with similar interests you can build your network and brand. All the while creating space for possible recommendations and advice about career moves.
  7. SnagaJob a professional search engine with a large database of available jobs. It can be filtered by state, industry, company, and category. It allows users to apply for many different jobs with step by step instruction, all in one centralized location.