How Google+ Can Help Your Job SearchHow Google+ Can Help Your Job Search
Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? BeKnown? Now, Google+? There are so many social network options to choose from these days to market and brand yourself to potential employers, it’s hard to know where to begin.
The latest social media tool in the job seekers’ arsenal is Google+, which has excellent potential for expanding your network.
Unlike other social media sites, Google+ is a great way to keep your social life separate from your professional life in one smooth interface. While it doesn’t replace Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for job networking, Google+ can be another way to connect with potential employers and find job leads. Be aware, though, that since it’s still in beta, it’s only available by invitation from people who have already joined.
If you’re lucky enough to score an early invite, what does Google+ mean to your job search and career?
Here are some of the key features and ways it can help you build your professional brand during your job search:
The problem with some of the current social media sites has been keeping your social life and professional life separate. While looking for a job, you don’t want a potential employer to see you and your friends partying or be able to view any type of posts that could potentially damage your opportunity to get a job. Unlike Facebook, which allows you to determine who can see your complete profile, with Google+ you can control who gets to see what part of your profile. This can be set per individual or through groups, called Circles, which you set-up yourself.
A really cool and useful feature of Google+ is that you can also see how your profile appears to different people. There is a box at the top of your profile page that says “View profile as…” where you can enter in a specific name to see what profile view of you that person will view. You can also select “anyone on the web” to see what your profile shows to the general public.
This is a huge difference between Google+ and other social media sites.
The key part to Google+ is that you are in control of your profile and in control of who gets to see what from your posts. Through the use of Circles, you can drag and drop your contacts into circles that you create. You can keep your employers and professional contacts completely separate from your friends and family. And they’ll never know which Circle you put them in or the name of that Circle.
When you post anything to your Google+ account, you can choose which Circle or Circles will see that post, photo or video. This feature is important in maintaining your professional appearance and controlling what a potential employer sees about you.
These contact Circles can be potential employers, contacts at companies or others who are helping you get a job. You can keep them in one group or separate them out and send them relevant updates on your current job search.
You can also add people or potential employers to Circles without needing them to “friend” you back. This way you can follow professional contacts or recruiters without the step of requesting their permission.
It can be a little difficult to find people to add to your circles since Google+ is restricted to invitation only right now, however, a site called FindPeopleonPlus.com (not affiliated with Google) is a service that helps you locate contacts through profession, name or location. They also have some fun stats such as the “Top Ten Professions on Google+.”
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How Google+ Can Help Your Job Search (cont.)How Google+ Can Help Your Job Search (cont.)
Streams are like your Facebook news feed and again it’s up to you as to what your friends and contacts see. You can choose to share with particular Circles, your extended Circles or share publicly. If you choose to post publicly, those who have added you to their Circles will see your posts and it will also appear in search results. You can also have the option to edit your posts once they are published, which is not an option on other social media sites.
Just be aware, though, that if you post something and it’s re-shared, your friends in that Circle will be able to see the post even if the original post was not shared with them. That is unless you click the down arrow button in your post and specifically “disable re-share.” You can also edit posts you’ve made, unlike on Facebook or Twitter.
When a friend posts something in a stream, you can tell who it was shared with. By clicking to the right of the timestamp, you can tell if it was shared publicly, with an extended Circle or to a small group of people. You can see exactly who got the post and who will see your comments, if you choose to comment.
As with any of your posts, you can have control over who sees your photos and which photos they’ll be able to access. This way, a potential employer will never see the photos of you doing Jell-O shots at your neighbor’s barbeque. You can, however, grant them access to the photos of you in your professional life and the more appropriate business-like photos.
Sparks is a feed of current news stories that are related to interests that you select. This is a great way to keep up on industry news and companies that you are focusing on for your job search. It’s a central place where you can keep abreast of current happenings with companies before your job interview.
Hangouts is Google+’s version of group video chat. While this is a fun way to connect with your friends, it can also potentially be very useful for long-distance interviews. Being able to do a video interview with a recruiter or hiring manager from the comfort of your home can be a huge savings and timesaver. While the kinks are still being worked out, this feature has the potential to be another avenue for the future of job interviewing.
Google+ is still developing its company-specific pages, so it’s best to research a company on other services at this time. And although Google+ has made the privacy of their users a priority, it’s still evolving and they are still beta-testing their product. So, there may be more changes along the way.
For job seekers, the bottom line is that no matter what social media network you are using, make sure you maintain control of your brand across the internet as much as possible. Take some time to surf the web and see what a potential employer might find about you. Not taking control of your brand could cost you in a big way.