You use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family members, to see pictures of your cousin’s new baby, to show off your latest vacation photos, or to access discounts and promotions from your favorite brands. But Facebook can actually be a great work resource if you use it well.
Here are three ways it can help you land your next great job!
1. Leverage the power of networking.
Facebook is great for helping you connect with your existing network. For example, if you are seeking a new job or a fresh project, you can post a status message saying that you are looking for new opportunities. Even if no one in your immediate network has an opening, they can pass on your name to others. Just make sure to keep your network relationships strong by regularly interacting there, so it will feel natural to ask your connections for support.
But don’t just settle for leveraging your existing connections — Facebook can be a great tool for helping you build and expand your network. Following professional groups and pages on Facebook can expose you to thousands of other people in similar fields, helping you build your network substantially. "Like" oDesk on Facebook - our community there of successful oDeskers can offer online work guidance, an entrepreneurial support group and an ongoing stream of new opportunities!
2. Build your professional brand.
Branding isn’t just for businesses — building and strengthening your own professional brand may be one of your best assets. Your professional brand extends far beyond your resume or C.V. — it also incorporates your digital and social presence.
Now that you have "liked" professional pages and groups on Facebook, you can build your brand by taking time to participate in discussions that add value to those communities. Sharing tips and best practices, answering other users’ questions, and generally engaging with the group can all help build your status as an expert in that community, which is a great way to make a name for yourself professionally. Just make sure to avoid “spamming” the discussion pages of these groups with links to your website or requests for work on unrelated discussions — not only does this risk having your comment removed by group administrators, it undermines your credibility. Remember, the key is building your reputation by providing value and showcasing your expertise, not by advertising your services. If you effectively build your reputation as an expert in your field, it will help you attract high-quality employers and opportunities.
Those familiar with “crowdsourcing” — using the collective wisdom of many people to help you solve problems or complete tasks — know that a lot of value can be found when groups of people share advice and resources. Trying to figure out which design program is best for a certain project, or what is a competitive rate for your services? Chances are there are many members of professional Facebook groups who can provide valuable input. Even if you don’t have any burning questions to ask, just observing group discussions can help you pick up tips you may never have found elsewhere.
So what are you waiting for? Start your Facebook networking today! Just make sure your profile is professionally friendly — if yours is linked to your college party pictures or the ones from that infamous tropical vacation, check your privacy settings carefully to make sure potential employers can't see them.
Need a great place to start? Like oDesk on Facebook! On our page, you will find lots of great resources and advice from fellow oDeskers, as well as helpful tips and fun contests from your friends on the oDesk staff. We'll see you there!