Networking is one of the most effective ways to secure a job. And with various social media platforms designed specifically for business networking, such as LinkedIn, social media is becoming an important element in building a professional network. As with any endeavor in the job search or professional networking process, using social media tools for business requires that you always maintain “social media etiquette”. Whether using professional sites like LinkedIn, to other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, following these guidelines will ensure you present the most appropriate face to those in your professional network. Keep your profiles updated and professional.Each social media platform has its own type of personal bio area. These should be updated, and where possible, outline professional skills and goals clearly and succinctly.

Along these same lines, your personal brand is reflected by everything you say about yourself online and keeping things as professional as possible helps. While bios such as Facebook reflect a more personal nature, recognize that nothing you say online is private. Always ere on the side of caution when you consider posting anything about yourself online, and recognize that everything you say about yourself can be accessed by anyone offline. Be careful of who you invite into your network. Before you invite someone into your social network – business or otherwise, it’s best to vet them. Read bios from invites from LinkedIn. Be selective on who you choose to “friend” on Facebook. If someone is looking to follow you on Twitter, be cognizant of who they are before you add them to your network. Connect with companies and organizations.Joining groups that are affiliated with your career goals is a great way to connect and build professional networks. Also inviting individuals you may be interested in connecting with in future will help. With any business communiqué, keep your invites as professional and clear as possible.

Online communications sometimes results in people being less than formal in their outreach. Do not fall into this trap. Keep all correspondence as professional as possible. Be proactive. If you are seeking a new challenge or career move, this is a good place to outline those goals. Be careful how much you state here; however, because current employers also have access to this information. Protect your privacy. Never share your passwords, leave your computer unattended or make it easy for someone to access your account. Make sure you privacy settings are set-up accordingly for each network you frequent.

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