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Professional Networking Part 1 – “Building Your Brand Online”

Hello WTC Mentoring Program Participants,

We hope you’ve made great progress completing your Professional Development Plans and have moved into implementing towards your goals! Last month we facilitated a fantastic capstone to the Professional Development Plan series with our March webinar: How to Map Your Plan for Success and STAY on it. We encourage those of you who missed the March webinar to review the recording in our WTC Mentoring Resources Hub and join the NetHope Women’s TechConnect LinkedIn Group to dialogue with fellow community members and view resources provided by our panelists.

We’ll shift our focus this month to building your brand and expanding your professional network, starting with tips on how to develop a strong online presence.

First, build professional profiles on the most popular social networking sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (LinkedIn.com, facebook.com, twitter.com).

  • Treat your LinkedIn and Facebook sites like a resume. Remember, any online presence is a window into who you are (your brand) and employers will use photos and information found on social networking sites to know you better, whether you intend for them to or not.
  • Make sure you market yourself through your current and past work and educational experiences.
  • Make sure your job titles are clear and accurate, and elaborate on your job functions. Misrepresenting where you’ve worked or what roles you’ve had will undermine the trust of future employers
  • Protégées, ask your mentor to look through your profiles and give you feedback. These profiles are vitally important. They are how you market yourself to potential employers and other people in your field.
  • Mentors, treat the review of your protégée’s online profiles as resumes, pointing out all the places where they can strengthen their professional presence.

Next, when you have developed strong online profiles, start networking!

  • Join the NetHope Women’s TechConnect LinkedIn Group
  • Look up people you already know in your field and see if they have profiles. You may learn something you didn’t know about a person before and thus be able to find work in an area you never considered. It is important to only request connections with people whom you already know. If secondary connections do pop up on LinkedIn, for example, ask for permission to contact them from your primary connection.
  • Customize your invitations for and responses to connections. Write a unique and applicable invitation/response. Share why a connection is beneficial for the both of you, add what you know about the other person, and ask some pertinent questions. On twitter, if you get a new follower that has relevant work experience to yours, send them a Direct Message using the guidelines above. By specializing your interactions, you are more likely to have positive and meaningful interactions with your connections.

A few additional pointers: Include links to your profiles on any business related correspondence to give you more and consistent exposure. Also, promote others by “sharing,” “liking,” “recommending”, “endorsing” or “ReTweeting.” This helps you to maintain a positive presence in your sphere of influence, and encourages others to do the same for you. Finally, make sure you have a recent, nice, professional photo of yourself on your pages so people will know who you are should these connections move beyond the realm of the internet!

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” -Emily Dickinson

Next WTC Connections: Professional Networking Part 2 – “Promoting Yourself in the Real World

In Partnership with You,

The Women’s TechConnect Team

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