Growing Your Professional Network With BranchOut

Did you know that there’s a way to manage your professional contacts inside Facebook?

The BranchOut App works in a similar fashion to the LinkedIn professional social network. It takes the form of an App which runs inside Facebook.

Facebook friends generally become your BranchOut contacts, but you can also reach other people through the extended network and there are a number of job opportunities advertised on BranchOut.

At present, BranchOut is primarily Facebook based, but the profile page can be accessed from outside Facebook, giving you another good professional view. I’d also imagine that this will grow further outside Facebook in the future.

Here’s what my profile looks like:

The BranchOut Profile For Thomas Lancaster

One way to use this is to include professional contacts within your Facebook friends. Use the Privacy settings to keep the information that you display to this group within Facebook suitably restricted. Then include them as professional contacts within BranchOut to access the benefits of their network.

Whilst BranchOut isn’t a LinkedIn competitor yet, it does offer a lot of potential and is one of the up-and-coming social tools which I believe that you should be using to present yourself professionally online.

You can view my BranchOut profile here.

 

Online Professional Presences – What Does The Internet Say About You?

If you’re a student, or even a professional looking for work, it’s very important to know what the Internet has to say about you.

Here’s a quick test.

Go to Google, and type in the your name in quotation marks.

Look at the first page of results.

There should be plenty of information on there which presents you in a positive light. There certainly shouldn’t be any negative information.

If you have a really common name, you might need to refine the search in a similar way to a potential employer would. Add your town, city or university to the search, or search by your email address or any online handles that you use and are easy to find.

This isn’t theoretical. Recent research showed that over 90% of employers searched for people looking for graduate jobs online before they could employ them (or, in many cases, even invite them to interview). If the information you want them to read isn’t there, then you just won’t get the professional jobs that you’re looking for.

Even more challenging?

Many employers bypass Google now and go directly to Facebook. The Facebook search options makes it very easy to find out more about candidates.

You need to treat all your socal media profiles as being in the public eye, because that’s what they are.

And, if employers can’t find out anything about you, what does that say?

To many employers, it says that you have something to hide.

To others, it’s that you just aren’t bothered about whether people can find out about you online.

Neither of those are good traits to potential employers.

 

Professional Presence Workshop

To find out more about social media, professional presences, and how these impact on employability, check out the Professional Presence Workshop at Birmingham City University. Places are free for academics interested in teaching these skills to students, but limited.

 

Your Thoughts

Do share your thoughts about the importance of an online professional presence in the comment area below.

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