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Using Social Networks to Find An Internship or your First Job

Building Your Online Brand

Social Networking has become one of the prominent ways for people to connect with each other. Whether it is MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Hi5, Friendster, Orkut or any other social networking site, most of the times we fail to fully leverage it. We end up spending time on casual chit chatting or the stuff which may not matter in the long run. On the other hand we can leverage the same networking site to grow our career and increase our market value. Creating your online brand is one of the top things to do in today's tough economic climate.  Following are some of the recommendations:

1. Add the right connections Most of the times we add connections either because they are good looking or someone has randomly approached us to be added. In order to benefit you should be selective about who you add. I am sure just like my mother your mother has also taught you that you are known by your friends. This is where it matters. Your profile is at a public display. If your connections have people who do not have a very good reputation or are there just because they look good or they requested to be added and you agreed, it can harm your image. Being associated with the right people is a must.

2. Enhance your visibility Add as much as professional detail you can to increase your visibility. Add the employment history, schools attended, volunteer work, sports, hobbies, affiliations and other activities. If you own a business write your business description, website link and other relevant information. This way you can strike some commonality with your prospective employers and business partners. Treat your profile as a resume or a cover letter. Do not disclose any personal information such as date of birth, social security or credit card numbers.

 3. Get Searched You can improve your search visibility by posting your resume or the link to your social networking profile on free job sites, bulletin boards and blogs. Put keywords such as marketing manager, software developer etc. on your profile. This way you will get detected by recruiters or business partners who are using search engines to find someone with your credentials.

4. Get Recommended Most of the social networking sites have a comments or recommendation section. You should request your friends and co-workers to give you recommendations. Don’t worry about any negative comments because most of the sites allow you to approve the comments before they are published.

5. Find People You Know or Get Introduced If you come across a job or a potential partner, you can find people through social networking sites to get introduced to the hiring manager or the business owner. It will not only get you an interview / meeting but also give you a starter conversation when you meet them. Since you were introduced to them they will be more willing to trust you and offer you a job or a deal.

6. Research The Company You can also use your connections in a social networking site to research the potential employer or the partner. Most of the people on your network can give you some insights about the business conditions and company culture. This way you can decide if you still want to pursue the opportunity.

7. Share Knowledge You can use forums and weblogs on social networking site to share knowledge and learn from others. Don't be shy. Feel free to post any questions you may have and most of the people on your network will be more than happy to answer those for you.