social media plan for career

Our first two articles in this series on social media covered auditing your existing social media accounts:

Our last article focused primarily on LinkedIn as a key part of your social media career plan:

LinkedIn is the most important part of a social media strategy in terms of your career, but let’s look at the last part of a strong social media plan.


STEP FOUR: Update Your Other Social Media Profiles
Take some time to make sure that your other non-LinkedIn social media platforms are up-to-date. Review your profile photos and background images. For consistency, consider changing your profile photos on all of your social media accounts to the same (professional) photo. This can help the person looking for you to identify that they have the right person — especially for social media accounts that you want them to be looking at.

Also review any photo galleries associated with your account (for example, on Twitter and Facebook). Delete any controversial or offensive photos. (Remember, they won’t be gone entirely from the Internet, but at least they won’t be as easy to find.) Do the same for any potentially offensive content you have posted.

STEP FIVE: Deliberately Cultivate Your Online Presence
One of the best ways to boost your online profile is to curate your profiles. For the platforms you have decided to concentrate on, develop a schedule for adding new content that will enhance your social media presence.

For example, if you can commit to it, a personal blog is an excellent way to establish thought leadership and enhance your career prospects. However, you must be willing to post regularly — for example, once a week, or twice a month.

The first thing to do is to pick one platform to be your “home base.” This is where you will spend the majority of your time and effort. For many jobseekers, that’s LinkedIn, because it offers the best opportunity to connect with potential hiring managers and recruiters. Others may be more comfortable with Twitter, Facebook, or a blog. It doesn’t matter so much which platform you choose as that you choose a platform.

Set goals for yourself — what do you want to show up when you Google yourself? If you want your blog to rank higher in Google’s search results, you’ll need to spend some time developing and curating content, populating the profile, and engaging in activities that will increase the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of the blog.

If you’re not engaging in a confidential job search, use your social media profiles to let people know you’re looking — and to ask for specific help in identifying your next opportunity or employer.

If you identified any “gaps” in your online presence as part of your social media audit, join those social media networks and set up your profile and begin adding content to your account.

Finally, make engaging on social media a daily habit. You don’t have to spend hours each day building your online presence. You can spend as little as 15 minutes a day — or an hour a week — on your social media.

Here are some daily activities to consider:

  • On LinkedIn: post a status update, check out the activities in your relevant Groups, make 1-2 new connections, “follow” a company you’d like to work for, and reach out to 1 existing connection (either by commenting on their status update, sending a message, or using LinkedIn’s “keep in touch” reminders to “like” or “comment” on your connections’ activities.
  • On Facebook: post a status update, “like” the page of a company that you’d like to work for, and friend someone you used to work with (or send a message to someone you’re already friends with who might be able to help you with your job search).
  • On Twitter: follow a company you’re interested in working for, tweet something job-related (make sure it’s positive in tone, not negative!), and retweet something interesting.
  • On Pinterest: see if there are any boards related to your industry and follow one or more of them; research to see if a company you’d like to work for has a board, pin something career-related to one of your own boards, and connect with two new people.
  • On your blog: Write a blog post, respond to comments, add a resource, or find a previous blog post that you can share to one of your other social media platforms. Research relevant blogs in your industry and sign up for email or RSS notifications for new posts. Comment on a blog post.

These are just a few of the possible activities you can consider each day. Another thing to consider is pre-scheduling content. You might write your blog post for the week on a Saturday, but schedule the post to publish on the following Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

Remember this advice: “It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as that you do.” Don’t substitute social media activity for other actions related to your job search, but recognize that social media can help you build your network and keep yourself “top of mind” with people who are in a position to hire you, or help you identify possible job opportunities.

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.