If you thought social media was only for having fun and wasting time, think again. You can do much with social media other than just games and entertainment. Social media have become an invaluable tool, especially when searching for a job, as well as getting a boost in your job skills. It is a convenient way to reach out to a large audience easily.

There has been a significant increase in the number of social media users over the past years. For example, LinkedIn has over 500 million users, Facebook – over 1,870 million, and WhatsApp – over 1,000 million users. With such a large number of users, social media, of no doubt, gives you a great platform to boost your career success since you can connect with numerous professionals from different professional areas. While such a platform can be beneficial, not everyone can succeed in drawing the necessary attention on various social media platforms.

Here are 7 smart ways to make the best out of social media and grow your career.

1. Create a professional profile

Did you know that you need a professional profile for your social media accounts? If you have stayed for a while without updating your accounts, revisit them and ensure that you have not only a professionally looking social media profile but also an optimized one. Such a strategy makes it easy for recruiters to find you without having to apply for any job.

2. Use social media to showcase your expertise

The growth of the internet and social media has made it easy for job seekers and employers to look for prospects in social media platforms. To use such a trend to your advantage, you will need to use the available social media to showcase your skills and talent. Perhaps, there is someone out there looking for a perfect match for your skills! Using a blog or a website can be a significant benefit in highlighting your gifts and skills, and reaching a large audience.

3. Take part in online job platforms

Taking part in online career platforms is a significant way to build and grow your career. Online platforms are rich in career-related discussions, which focus on the trending topics in the corporate world. In most of the cases, you might find such communities influential and useful in building your career. Taking part in online communities on career and job search can offer you valuable information on growing your own career. In addition, with such groups, you can come across recruiters and other like-minded individuals who can be of significant help in your career advancement.

4. Interact with like-minded people

The social media is full of people with diverse skills, knowledge, and experience in different fields. Interaction with the right individuals can guarantee you both personal and career growth. Make sure that you establish new connections within your area of specialization, connect with them, and ensure that you engage in fruitful discussions. No one will be willing to help you for nothing. Usually, it is recommendable to offer value for any connections you make so that the other party can see your worthiness.

5. Learn through new insights

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook contain new interactions, activities, and trends regarding the corporate world. Use such insights and specifically the ones that focus on your area of specialization to learn new perspectives and ideas about your career development. Interacting with people in different social media platforms can be a source of great insights into establishing a new responsibility in your workplace, as well as help you improve your career. For example, you can get in touch with career professionals on Twitter or Facebook who will help you steer your career in the right direction.

6. Curate content focused on your skills and expertise

Employers have much interest in what you can do for their organization. To take advantage of this, you can curate content that focuses on your expertise and skills. Use different social media platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest to share such curated content. However, it can be hard to get the necessary following and attention from social media if your content is low in quality. It is advisable to ensure that you express your expertise in a given field well –it is the only way to be assured of numerous career growth opportunities.

7. Use social media to find companies in your industry

You can grow your career through association with the right individuals and companies. Social media has all the companies that you might want to work within the future. Find companies within your industry and network with them. Such a strategy keeps you updated about the companies’ relevant information such as vacancies.

There is no doubt that social media is now used by almost everybody –the old and the young, job seekers and employers, buyers and sellers, customers and business, etc. The implication is that you can make a lot from social media in regards to improving your career. All you need is to plan and execute wisely. Review and improve your social media profile; make deserving connections; showcase your expertise; research and learn. The above ideas are only meant to help you jumpstart your career by making use of the social media in a better manner other than just connecting with friends and family. If you apply the tips well, they can get on the right way to growing your career.

Kara Erhart is a professional team building coach, ethics teacher and content marketer with 5 years of experience. Also, she works as a website analyst for ArtGrad.

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