Google+ is a social networking site operated by Google. Launched in summer 2011, Google+ is widely regarded as an alternative to social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter. Adoption of Google+ has been fairly quick, with some estimating that the site already has 25 million users as of this writing.
Essentially, Google+ is another way for you to keep in touch with your friends and family. However, Google+ also offers some unique ways to enhance your career and your job search.
Here are some ideas on how you can use Google+ in your job search:
Tip #1: Improve your online presence
It's no secret by now that recruiters and employers like to google potential employees. As a Google product, Google+ is optimized for search engines, so you should look at it as an opportunity to enhance your online presence.
In order to use Google+, you'll need to create a public profile. It's a good idea to complete your profile so if a potential employer stumble upon your profile, they can get a good idea of your competencies and expertise.
Some tips on completing your profile:
Use your real name or the same name that you use on your resumé. This ensures that your profile comes up when a potential employer googles you.
Select a photo that represents you — something that shows personality but is also professional is ideal.
Complete the "Introduction" section, making sure to also mention something about your field of study or your chosen industry.
Include some information about your occupation, employment and education.
Add links that will highlight your expertise and experience: for example, to your online portfolio, your LinkedIn account, your website, your blog, and other social networking sites.
Turn on "Search Visibility" to make sure that your professionally-written profile can be found.
Tip #2: Establish your credibility and expertise
Sparks, a built-in functionality on Google+, allows you to find stories, articles and blog posts about things that you're passionate about. Use Sparks to keep yourself informed of industry news and trends. When you go to interviews, having the knowledge of the latest industry happenings can be a source of valuable competitive advantage.
You can also use Sparks to find content that you can then share to your friends on Google+ or even on other social networking sites. Read the right mix of sparks every day to help you find interesting content and to position yourself as an expert in your industry.
Another way of establishing your credibility is by using your status to offer thoughts regarding the latest news in your industry. Unlike Twitter, where you're limited to 140 characters, or Facebook (where you're limited to 420 characters), Google+ doesn't limit how long your updates can be. It's an excellent tool to get yourself heard without opening and fully committing to a blog.
Tip #3: Create meaningful relationships
As with any other social media, relationships drive Google+.
Organize “hangouts” or keep an eye out for invitations to participate on them. Google+’s group video-chat service offers opportunities to get to know people in your circles no matter where they're from.
Finally, commenting on other people's posts and using the "+1" button also shows that you care about other people's posts. Don’t just add people in your circles — enhance these relationships by showing that you listen to what they have to say.
If there's one thing that Google+ does better than Facebook, it's privacy. To start following someone on the site, you need to add them to your "circles", and it's up to you how you'd like to organize these circles. Many agree that Google+’s circles are significantly easier to manage than Facebook’s lists feature.
Take some time to think about the type of circles that you'd like to have. And then, when you're posting updates, take the few seconds to customize your update to indicate which of your circles would see the update. Not all updates are appropriate for all your circles — for instance, it might be okay to publicly share news about your industry but you might want to limit who sees more personal updates.
Most importantly, don't be afraid to experiment with Google+. As of this writing, Google+ is not a mainstream site yet and most of the people there are early adopters. As with any other social networking site, users will heavily shape how the general public utilizes Google+ in their daily lives. Use your creativity to connect with potential employers on Google+ and to expand and enhance your current network.
Beyond the Blog
- Check out Kevin's other blog posts from their Social Media Series.