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Career advice for job seekers

How can online networking help your job search? 21/03/2011

Aileen Brown, director at Hays Human Resources, explains how social networking can help senior HR professionals secure their next role.

How can online networking help your job search?

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  1. Can your online profile impact your career?
  2. Manage your online reputation carefully
  3. Interact online to demonstrate credibility
  4. Maximise your chances of being hired

Can your online profile impact your career?

In today’s fast-paced society it can be difficult to find the time to meet new people face-to-face, let alone begin to establish a relationship with them. Social networking can be a useful tool for senior HR professionals to build and maintain professional relationships and to tap into them when looking to advance their careers. But in order to get the right results, jobseekers will need to manage their online activity effectively.

Research from Hays reveals that nearly half of UK professionals use social networking sites regularly in a professional capacity and 60% are aware that employers use them to research potential recruits. But interestingly, a large number (48%) of individuals questioned are not concerned about the potential implications their presence on social networking sites may have on their careers.

Manage your online reputation carefully

Some HR professionals will have found themselves advising people on how to use social networking from a recruitment perspective. But it's easy to forget how to use it from an individual perspective - it's important to invest enough time in managing your online reputation, show a certain level of professionalism in any open online presence you have, and managing what you put online to ensure you only display information that they are happy for professional contacts and potential employers to view.

As the competition for jobs remains high, it's key to pull out all the stops to make sure you convey your suitability.

Interact online to demonstrate credibility

While it's important for individuals using social and professional networking sites to carefully manage their personal brand and what is said about them online, you should not be put off using social networking sites, as they can add value to your career. Our research shows 37% of professionals have increased their use of online networking over the last year and they are becoming much more strategic in their approach, with many taking advantage of more targeted sites and joining career-related groups and forums.

In times like this, utilising social networking sites and other online channels can help generate new leads for jobs and forge new connections but also increase specialist knowledge and provide updates on industry trends. For example, LinkedIn gives users the ability to expand their network by tapping into other professionals contacts and by joining industry-related groups.

Maximise your chances of being hired

It's clear most professionals see the value in online social networking, but it's important to choose where and who you network with wisely and understand what information is available about you online and who can view this. Senior professionals should be doing everything they can to ensure they are at an advantage when looking for a job, making sure nothing hinders their chance of securing a role. But it is also important to use networking as an opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge by interacting with others on key issues such as commercial awareness within the profession.

Online networking is one way of meeting new contacts, but industry events are also a great way to make new connections, so a mixture of offline and online networking can help you maximise your chances of securing a new role.

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Aileen Brown, director, Hays Human Resources

Aileen Brown, director, Hays Human Resources

Aileen is a director at Hays Human Resources.