Part of my involvement with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) annual conference is providing personal career consultations with conference attendees. Many attendees work in the public sector, and over the course of individual conversations with folks who signed up for personal consultations, I was surprised to learn that many of them have no active involvement with social media platforms. Many believed they had to fully immerse themselves on a variety of platforms, but were relieved to know that that’s not the case at all. Some have Facebook pages, and some have LinkedIn profiles, but in most instances, either their LinkedIn profiles are incomplete, or they simply have a presence and are not actively participating – or both.
So briefly, here are six reasons why public sector employees need an active social media presence (primarily for LinkedIn) for growing their careers:
- An active social media presence makes you more visible to decision makers and hiring managers. Social media has rendered organizational “gatekeepers” obsolete, because with an active social media presence on the right platforms, you can gain access to these people. Without an active social media presence, you are anonymous.
- Some studies show that between 33 and 67 percent of all positions filled come about through referrals. That’s justification enough for you to continue building your network of contacts on LinkedIn.
- Social media (more precisely, networking platforms) allows you to promote and leverage your expertise as a resource for others. Hiring managers are always looking for problem solvers, game changers, and solutions providers. And all hiring managers want experts on their team.
- Social media connections allow you to build a level of mutual familiarity. One of the first steps to gaining access to decision makers is to first establish a degree of mutual familiarity. Make your connections strategic for any potential mutual exchange of value.
- Familiarity with your network contacts over time leads to trust. When you consistently contribute value to conversations with others, “like” their comments, or “retweet” their Tweets, that familiarity can lead to mutual trust.
- Mutual trust with your network contacts can lead to direct access. Hiring managers, like the rest of us, want to work with people we are familiar with and who we trust. More often than not, those people advance to the head of the line for direct access.
What accelerates direct access to decision makers is having a polished professional brand that makes its way onto social media platforms through your website, blog, articles published in peer-reviewed journals, books, conference presentations, and so on. All of that goes in your LinkedIn profile. I cover building a professional brand in both of my books.
As i mentioned, there’s no need to be active on a wide variety of social media platforms – only a couple where decision makers are active will be sufficient. Besides this blog and my website, I am active on LinkedIn and Twitter. My business Facebook page automatically receives feeds from my blog posts and Twitter activity. I limit 98% of my posts to issues surrounding job and career strategies.
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her entourage are met at the doors to the Emerald City by a gatekeeper. They are only allowed entry after it’s pointed out to him that she’s wearing the ruby slippers, that were once on the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. The gatekeeper knows that the Wizard would value the ruby slippers because they represented one thing:
ACCOMPLISHMENT! What are your ruby slippers?
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My name is Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies: Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.
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