While you can network in person, another great way to make connections is networking online. Online networking allows you to connect with numerous individuals who are interested in gathering and sharing first-hand information and experiences. It is another way to build and connect with your network. Some online networks include:
When networking online, it is important to maintain a professional presence. LinkedIn, a professional networking site, is a great way to create your professional online identity. Register with LinkedIn and join the CEHD Student and Alumni LinkedIn Group. CEHD alumni are an excellent source of information and they are excited to connect with current students.
The first step in creating a positive online identity is determining what is already out there about you and evaluating the content.
- Review your results focusing on the first three pages since it is unlikely most employers will take the time to look further than this.
- Determine if the content is positive, accurate, and relevant to your career goals.
- Check for diversity in the type of content social networks, blogs, websites, photos, videos.
- Un-tag yourself from all content that is inaccurate or unprofessional. If you do not have access to the content, connect with the person who has posted the negative content and ask them to remove it.
- Create as much positive content as possible to cover-up any unprofessional content.
- If you can't remove all negative content, your online identity can remain positive if the majority of online content is positive and accurate.
Claim Your Name
- Check out http://namechk.com to find out which sites have your username available, and register for the most popular networks.
- Buy your domain name, for instance, JaneDoe.com. Even if you never put up a website, you'll ensure that no one else will launch one in your name.
- Create profiles on major social networks, including those you don't use regularly, to "claim" your name on these sites.
- Consider using your middle initial if you have a common name or the same name as someone who is famous.
Now that you’ve evaluated and cleaned-up your online presence the next step is building a positive online identity that promotes your personal brand and allows potential employers and recruiters to find you.
The major social networking sites LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter generally zoom up the Google rankings and will likely appear on the first page of results when someone searches on your name.
- Profiles should be complete, accurate and regularly updated.
- Post content you’ve created relevant to your career interests that demonstrates your strengths and skills.
- Demonstrate your expertise by being active in discussions and sharing content that professionals in your career field could use.
Create Your Brand
- What value do you bring? How are you unique?
- Engage in self-assessment and identify your passions, strengths, attributes, and values.
- Clarify your purpose, create your career goals and develop a vision.
- Your brand should be authentic and relevant to your target audience.
- To succinctly communicate your brand write a personal branding statement.
- Align your personal brand on all social networking sites.
- Make sure information on social media sites is exactly the same as it appears on your resume.
It is important to continuously monitor your online identity to be certain all online content is positive and supports your personal brand.
- Routinely google yourself and review the results. Deal with any negative or inaccurate content immediately.
- Set-up a Google alert. You will receive an e-mail anytime your name is mentioned on the Web, including news sites, video sites, and social networks.
LinkedIn is an excellent resource to expand your online professional network. Below are links to videos from LinkedIn that will help you fully utilize the website for networking and your job search.
How to Use LinkedIn
- Create a LinkedIn Profile
- Upload a professional appropriate photo.
- Create a smart headline & summary.
- Add strong recommendations.
- Add your LinkedIn URL to your email signature line.
- Enhance Your Profile
- Search terms that sound interesting on LinkedIn’s advanced search. (For example: sport management, human resources, social services, etc.)
- Join groups related to any career interest you are considering.
- Explore company pages.
- Add connections on LinkedIn.
- Connect with family & friends.
- Reach out to alumni & industry members.
- Build and maintain new connections.
- Join LinkedIn Groups such as the CEHD Alumni & Student Networking LinkedIn Group and the University of Minnesota Alumni LinkedIn Group.
- How to Network on LinkedIn
- Reach out to your professional network.
- Send a friendly message to your contacts on LinkedIn letting them know the type of opportunity you are most interested in.
- Connect to LinkedIn job postings.
- Prepare for your interview using LinkedIn.
- Find general company & employee information.
- Review the profiles of the individuals who will be interviewing you.
Explore LinkedIn Resources
This resource provides easy access to entry-level jobs and internships at some of the best companies worldwide.
Learn how to use your transferable skills & expertise in other industry areas.
This tools allows you to research your college or university alumni according to a specific school, district, or geographic location.