Online professional networking is key to increasing your reach in the life sciences industry, whether it’s for job hunting or career advancement. And let’s face it, we’re all glued to our screens more than we’d like to admit, especially to our social media sites. So let’s make sure that the time we spend on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are actually being well spent… and aren’t doing more harm than good.
Here are seven quick tips to help make your online professional networking a success.
1. Keep your profile professional. Just as with your résumé, be sure your online profiles have no spelling or grammatical errors. Plus, keep a close eye on the photos and content that other people post about you. Even if you’re using Facebook or Twitter in a more for personal way, you want to ensure what’s posted won’t hurt your professional image. Never post something you wouldn’t tell your mother.
2. Ask for recommendations. Testimonials about your personal integrity and strong work ethic, for example, can make a positive first impression on potential employers or clients. So don’t hesitate to ask colleagues and friends to post recommendations on sites like LinkedIn. It’s not good to brag about yourself, so let others do it for you.
3. Be responsive. As you build your networks, be sure to keep up with the communications. In other words, don’t let too many days go by without checking on your social media sites and responding to people who reach out to you. An unresponsive user is like talking to a brick wall.
4. Incorporate professional keywords into your profile. Using keywords that include your industry (ex: life sciences) and titles you’ve held lets people who are searching for new hires easily find you on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. Think: If an employer hasn’t met you yet, how will they find you?
5. Organize your time. Wasting time on social networking sites is easy. So set up a limit for the amount of time you spend online networking each day. Also, with so many networking sites available, consider limiting your professional networking to the sites you find most productive. Don’t spread yourself too thin, make sure the profiles you have COUNT.
6. Return the favor. Networking should be based on mutual collaboration. So be sure to help friends and colleagues make connections whenever possible. Who knows where the favor will lead you…
7. Continually grow your online networks. Connect online with previous and current coworkers, old classmates, neighbors, family, and friends. Social media sites are a great way to get to know coworkers better, which will likely improve your working relationships. Also, online networking will help keep you top of mind if your contacts hear of career opportunities that fit your needs. Your network should grow with you, it should include your high school buddies AND your most recent colleagues.
Those who are more connected have more opportunities. Luckily, due to online networking sites, connecting and keeping in touch with people is easier than ever before. For additional professional networking opportunities, check out our listing of local life sciences events.