When you hear the word network you might think of the Herbal life presentations requiring you to join the movement, right? That is just one part of networking! There is much more to networks. They can help you to land a job or take your hustling game to the next level!

Networking is simply getting to know people.

Whether you realise it or not, you are already networking every day and everywhere you go. Remember that conversation you had in a queue, when you picked up a child from school; or when you met a friend of a friend; caught up with a former co-worker; or stopped to chat with your neighbour?

Those were all networking opportunities and the more networking you do, the more opportunities you will hear about that can help you to move your job search forward.

Having a strong network means that your friends will be able to recommend and share opportunities with you in confidence. A good idea is also to find online groups that are related to your field of interest where you can search through ads posted by other people.

Networking on Social Media

Reality is that word-of-mouth works! In these social media times it is now being complemented by networking on social media. Having a strong social media profile is essential.

Your social networking profile links you up to hundreds, if not thousands, of people, including potential employers.

Use your social networks to be informed of job opportunities as they come up.

● Depending on your reach, build a contact list on Whatsapp to be updated and informed of job opportunities.

● Don’t be embarrassed to post on Facebook that you are looking for an opportunity and market your skills and talents there.

Social media has so much power!

The majority of employers are using social media for hiring. They use the social media profiles of candidates as selection factors in their recruitment efforts.

This is why it is so important for work seekers to brush up on their social media and networking skills. Creating a strong online profile and being active on social media is an effective way to showcase your skills and experience. Your online social media pages will also help you connect with contacts who can accelerate your job or hustling search and help you to move up the career ladder.

There are many social media platforms and most of us use at least one in our social life but they can also be used effectively to find job opportunities. There are groups related to fields of interest, where you search through ads posted by other people. Invest your time and energy in Facebook and LinkedIn to network and help build your profile.

Mara, you probably asking, how do I not mix pleasure with business?

To get the best results using social media to find jobs, focus on the following:

● Pick two or three Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, or forums, and participate daily. (It is OK to limit your time online to only a few minutes each, such as to ask questions, share news articles, or to respond to questions involving your expertise.)

● Which social network is most popular in your local industry? Build your profile on it as a local expert by answering questions, sharing good articles, connecting with influencers and recruiters, and more.

● Your brand – how you present yourself online – is important. Avoid posting any content that will tarnish your brand.

What is personal branding?

A brand is a company’s promise to its customer. It tells customers what they can expect from the company’s products and services. It shows how its products are unique from its competitors. Nando’s cannot be without its amazing flame grilled chicken, nor can Chicken Licken be without their hot wings.

But just as these advertisers are creating a picture for us of this product and brand, when you are online, you are also presenting an image of yourself, whether you realise it or not. What you choose to say, share and comment on all create an impression of the kind of person you are. And so you need to be careful with how you present yourself: personal branding is your reputation. So think of your personal brand as your calling card—your unique promise of value. It’s what you’re known for and how people experience you.

Did you know that 43% of employers have recruited potential interviewees online?

Personal branding is a great way to create a positive representation of your skills, interests, and career goals. Whether you use it to find a new job, grow your business, or simply expand your professional network – it has become an essential part of building your professional reputation. Stand out and shine!

Here are a few ideas:

● Check your Facebook profile – set your privacy settings, and even then, be careful about what you post. Remember that potential employers look at your profile and that your reputation is at stake. For more information about your digital footprint read here.

● Also create a LinkedIn profile. Find out how to get Linked In here

● Use both these channels to illustrate your unique professional story and achievements by adding visuals such as pictures, compelling videos, links to news stories and innovative presentations.

● If you have a business, post it online.

● Use the ideas described in networking above for these channels as well.

● Take pictures while volunteering, and tag the organisations or your network on your Facebook page (volunteering is great for building up networks as well as developing your skills).

● Do constant checks on how you are coming across: googling yourself is a great way to figure out how you are appearing to others on social media.

Showcase your skills and experience through building a strong personal brand and networking on social media. It will widen your net and help you to land that job you have always wanted!

Thanks to the Harambee Team for supplying content.

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