How To Start Building Your Professional Network On LinkedIn And Twitter


In this day and age, having an online presence is just as essential to your job search as having an error-free resume.

However, between LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ it can be difficult to master how to effectively manage your many online lives.

Once you’ve upped your Facebook privacy settings as high as they can go, it’s pretty easy to learn how to navigate the ‘book.

However, mediums like LinkedIn and Twitter can be a bit trickier to grasp, especially for students and recent grads who don’t already have built-in professional networks.

The Business Etiquette Guide by Robert Half looks at how to most effectively utilize these tools and how they can nicely complement each other (and in turn, your job search):

Getting started on LinkedIn

A full profile is a fulfilling profile

Provide as much information as you can including work history, key responsibilities and educational history. Be specific and highlight key accomplishments so as to give others a clear example of the type of work you’re capable of doing.

It’s all about quality not quantity

It’s easy to aimlessly connect with people in an effort to build up your number of contacts and appear more “popular.” Don’t invite strangers to your network and don’t be offended when those same strangers ignore your requests. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your network is only as strong as its weakest connection. It’s not just how many people you know, but who these people are.

It’s not all about you

Although LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations from your contacts or utilize your network to seek assistance (both of which can be extremely beneficial), you don’t want to focus solely on how LinkedIn can further your career. Don’t be constantly seeking recommendations or advice, and be ready to pay back favours by providing some advice of your own. Also, always say thank you to those who do provide recommendations or insight to a question you posed.

Join In

LinkedIn has groups for people who share interests. Getting involved in these can help you keep up with new developments in your field while simultaneously networking. Don’t just be a name in the group – participate in discussions and offer input. That being said, avoid sending direct messages to group members unless you have already established some sort of personal connection. To access a group which may be of interest to you, go to the search box and click on “Groups” from the drop-down menu.

Mastering the Twitterverse

Begin by listening

Use Twitter’s search function to find people and feeds which are of interest to you. Spend some time exploring these outlets and looking at how they are utilizing Twitter.

Maintain your humanity

Keep your tweeting tone natural and in your own voice. The whole point of Twitter is to show who you are and what interests you.

Make like a pencil and have a point

Share links to relevant articles and express your own views. Tweet out information your followers will find valuable rather than which nail polish colour or salad dressing you went with today.

Tweet regularly

Keep your profile current and tweet on a regular basis. This keeps your online presence up to date and will hold the attention of your followers! That being said, if you have nothing to say, don’t force it.

Pay it forward

Retweeting the posts of others builds rapport with your followers, sparks conversation and demonstrates to others that you don’t think it’s all about you – you can appreciate what others have to say as well!

Be appreciative

Acknowledge retweets by publicly thanking those who share your posts – unless your every tweet gets tweeted 900 times. Then use some discretion (and probably expect an invitation to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show).

Keep it simple

You only have 140 characters to make your point so get right to it. Try using less than the 140 cap in order to make it easier for others to retweet.

Avoid privacy settings

Keeping an open profile will actually work to your advantage in the world of Twitter. Open accounts enable you to connect and share thoughts and ideas more easily with others, which is exactly what Twitter is all about. On that note, don’t be too open. Twitter is a place for you to solidify yourself as an individual and a professional, not to argue about whose turn it is to do the dishes.

Photo credit: eldh