Social Networking for Professionals

by Howard Gerber on May 10, 2011

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Social networking has become very popular for individuals and has rapidly been gaining that attention of people who want to connect with other professionals. There are many social networking sites that can be used to expand your professional network. Learn which ones are the best and how to present a professional image.

Best Social Networks for Professionals

Many of the most popular social networks can be used for both personal and professional networking. Linkedin is one of the most popular social networks; it was created specifically for people searching for a way to increase their professional social network. Other popular choices include Facebook and Bebo. However, there are dozens of social media sites that have popped up over the last several years. Top Ten Reviews wrote a comprehensive guide detailing the merits and weaknesses of the ten best social networking sites. Look at the quick comparison chart and then read the full reviews for the networks that interest you most.

Creating an Online Persona

Your profile will be the first impression many people will have of you as a professional. Use a picture that portrays a professional image rather than a snapshot taken at a party or on vacation. Use your real name or a portion of your real name in order to create a personal rapport with the people you interact with professionally. Provide pertinent information about your career such as where you went to college, degrees, accreditations, and professional affiliations. This will allow others with similar backgrounds to find you more easily.

Look for groups to join that promote the type of career you have, or that you want to have. If you are continuing your nursing education to become a registered nurse, look for a group of other nursing students. If you are a physical therapist in Alabama, look for a group of physical therapists in your state or region. If you are a nurse practitioner and are interested in moving to a new area, look for groups in that area to learn more about job prospects and requirements.

What Not to Do

Do not mix your personal and professional social media images. While it is fine to share milestones with colleagues, this is not the forum to post your party plans, disciplinary issues with your children, vacation highlights, or relationship highs and lows. Create a separate account to share information with friends and family.

Do not post unprofessional pictures in your photo albums. If you are an avid photographer and have a collection of images that pertain to your career, that don’t violate HIPAA laws, feel free to post them. However, images of your children, garden, or latest renovation project are better suited to your private social media network.

What is your favorite social media site to connect with colleagues? Have you decided to use your personal account to connect with coworkers? If so, what made you decide to do so, and how has it impacted how you interact with your friends and work acquaintances?

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