Prep Your Google+ Profile for Career Development

Social media is becoming an essential tool for those interested in finding a new job or extending their professional network. There are endless opportunities to connect with individuals and organizations from all over the world that share your interests.

When you think social media and careers, LinkedIn may be the first place that comes to mind. I, as well as our recent Inside Online Learning chat participants, continue to recommend LinkedIn as a primary account, but it may be time to expand your online reach with Google+ as your next step.

Why Google+?

Donna Svei of AvidCareerist.com answers that, “if you have a profile on Google Plus, and it contains the key words a recruiter is looking for, your profile will pop for them from their Google Search. IT’S THAT EASY. No building a network. No levels of connection. No spendy premium plans. Just simplicity.”

Chances are you are already using Google, whether it’s the popular search engine, Gmail, or one of many Google Apps. If you already have a Google account, log in to check your options for completing a profile and the adjusting the settings for search visibility and privacy. A new post from Mashable proclaims “you will be Googled,” so why not take action to fine tune the part of your digital footprint that is already associated with Google?

Profile Basics

With career development and the job search process in mind, here is a short list of the Google+ profile sections you should consider completing as a form of social resume:

  • Story: This is the primary information that will appear under the “About” tab of your profile (see the screenshot below). It includes Tagline, Introduction, and Bragging Rights (i.e., achievements). What is your story? Use key words relevant to your industry and interests to help your profile appear in recruiters’ searches. Note that while the brief Tagline is public, you can modify the settings for the Introduction and Bragging Rights.
  • Work: In this section of your profile you can add your Occupation, a list of Skills, and details about your Employment history (i.e., company name, job title, start and end dates, job description.) As in the Story section, you can decide which items will be public or private.
  • Education: Create a list of your education and training achievements. The entries are similar in format to what you might include in a traditional resume or job application, such as institution name, field of study, and year of graduation.
  • Profile Photo: This serves as your account’s avatar, appearing with your status updates, searches, etc. Make it a head-and-shoulders shot of just you. It doesn’t have to be the work of a professional photographer, but should be professional in nature.
  • Cover Photo: Recent updates to Google+ make this a primary feature of your profile page as a sort of banner. Again, keep professional use in mind and think about how the image you include here could be used to introduce you and your work.
  • Links: Are you also active on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook? You can add links to these accounts and many others, just make sure you are adding only the accounts you want your current and future employers to see, and that the information they may include (e.g., work history, education) is consistent with the details presented in your Google+ profile.

Remember that your profile is your profile – you can include as much or as little detail as you are comfortable with, and you can edit it as many times as you like. Search for the Google+ pages of others working in your field, as well as your colleagues, to see how they use the platform to convey their professional information.

These tips will get you started, but there’s much more you can do with Google+. Explore the options to participate in the more social aspects of the platform by creating circles, joining communities, and sharing your knowledge and resources.

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