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Using Social Networking Sites To Advance Your Career

May 16, 2008
Should you accept them all, or try to accept some while ignoring others? Most importantly, how can you nurture these relationships in a beneficial way to advance your career?

For most part, the rules in the real world should work in the virtual world, too. For social networking sites, it is important to follow up on the contacts that you have built.

Easy Networking

Though networking sites make it easy to connect with different people, adding contacts on your online networking site is only the first step in effective networking. It is just like getting a business card at a formal party - you have to follow up and keep in touch with your contacts.

Making valuable contacts and then letting them drop is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make.

Maintaining Identities

If you prefer that your boss doesn't find out about several aspects of your personal life, then it is possible and preferable that you separate your work life from your virtual personal life. This can be done on almost any of the social networking sites today.

You can let your boss know that you are setting up a dedicated page for professional contacts, and can ask him to be added as a friend there. This should be done in a gracious manner, but you should take care to keep this page separate from your personal page.

Invitations and Recommendations

At times, you might receive an invitation from someone you don't really relate to. It is not necessary to reject them right away - this could be seen as being rude. You can accept the invitation, but take no further action. You do not need to endorse that particular person.

You should use social networking sites to strengthen ties with your business associates by garnering recommendations from them, and by posting referrals for them.

Confidentiality

Always know your company's policy. You don't want to post or mention something on the site that is a company secret without realizing it. Many companies conduct searches on the Internet and monitor blog posts, so always take care with what you post online. Nothing meant for internal correspondence or anything that your company believes can harm their business prospects should be visible on your networking page.

Apart from this, you should also be extremely careful when posting pictures online. No photos that might show you in an embarrassing situation, or relating to nudity or drug use should be posted on your networking page. You should also refrain from posting material that may be politically incorrect.

Your idea is to increase your business prospects, and not make personality statements. Stick to your goal when using social networking sites, and your career will benefit.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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