Are you using social media to advance your career and build your professional network? When is the last time you posted a career update? Was it when you landed a new job? Have you posted anything since then? How often do you publish updates on yourself and what is going on with your career and your own development? There are many reasons why it’s a wise career strategy to post consistently.
At some point during your career, you will be between jobs, regardless of the reason. For some people, COVID-19 has exponentially increased the risk of this happening sooner rather than later. When is the last time you touched base with your references? Do you wait until you are looking for a job to re-establish contact? Do they have any idea what skills or certifications you have added since you last saw or worked with them? They would if they were in your online network and you were providing regular updates.
If you heard about a job loss of two people that you worked with ten years ago, who would you rather help? The one you worked who hasn't contacted you since that time other than now with a request to be a reference or the person who is on your LinkedIn list, has posted regular updates in their career (such as a new PACE certification, holding an office in their professional association, etc.) and who has commented on your updates? Who would come to mind first if you heard about a new job posting that either individual would be qualified for? Most likely, the person who has kept in touch with you over the years and who has kept you updated on all the new skills they have added to their repertoire.
Every time you post a small update, people are learning more about you. They are not only adding more knowledge of you to their long-term memory banks, but they are also getting regular reminders that you exist! Long term relationships need nurturing or they wither away. Another advantage of the regular updates is that you will also see your network's updates and can comment on and support them as well!
Have you ever felt like you have gotten to be friends with someone strictly from online communication? If you are involved in forums or groups, it's quite common to start to develop a feeling of family when people share their day to day experiences and let others get a glimpse into their lives. You can get a strong sense of their personality, likes and dislikes, and opinions. Of course, this has positive and negative elements.
Because you are announcing your goals and efforts publicly, there is accountability for actually accomplishing what you say you will do. Let's say you lose your job or decide to start a new business (or both!). If you tell your network, chances are someone may know someone who can help you. If you tell no one because you are embarrassed, who is out there looking on your behalf? Posting regular updates also makes others feel like they are accompanying you along the journey and helps them to feel vested in your success.
Is there really NOTHING that you have to share about your professional life or your career development? If it truly is the case that you have nothing to share on a regular basis, what are you saying about the priority you place on your career? It’s one thing if you have made a conscious choice to focus on other priorities at this time, but it’s something else entirely if you’ve simply not been paying attention to your career for no particular reason. Sometimes the real world intrudes on the best laid plans (hello global pandemic), but at some point in time, if your career is actually important to you, you need to carve out the time to keep your skills up to date and your network in touch.
You want to post positive (or possibly neutral/factual) updates that will help others think positively of you, support you, and want to continue seeing what is going on with your life. You also want to post things that future employers will want to see or know about (again, think long term, such as that future job search that you might be facing).
Examples could include:
If necessary, put a recurring reminder on your calendar to post updates on your social networking site of choice. Don’t be the weakest link in your network! Put yourself out there and get posting!
About the Author:
Marie Herman CAP, OM, ACS, MOSM is the founder of MRH Enterprises LLC, whose services include teaching technology and professional development classes through corporate training and various webinars and workshops, writing articles, and more. She leads study groups to prepare students for Google G Suite, Microsoft Office Specialist, and the Certified Administrative Professional certification exams.