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Social Networking to Advance Your Career

April 29, 2013

silicon valley tech women panel

Silicon Valley Tech Women held a panel at the shiny new SalesForce offices in downtown San Francisco entitled Leveraging Social Networking to Advance Your Career. See the photos  from DJ Cline here.

I moderated this panel of tech rockstars.

Takeaways from the discussion were many, and largely about developing a professional brand, creating real networks of people who are interested in the same topics, staying in good standing in the community and supportive of others in their extended networks.

With a panel of professionals like these women it wasn’t a surprise to hear they all struggle with time management and balancing professional and personal interests or that they are constantly experimenting with tools and networks to fine-tune their personal brands online. Some felt it was a good thing to have different profiles for different aspects of their lives. Even Jana’s puppy has a profile!

Most of the panel chunks up time throughout the day to manage their social networks. Checking networks in the morning, the evening and a few times throughout the day rather than spending all day surfing networks.

Not every social network is a good fit for everyone, finding the platforms that resonate with you and where you find the most people in your area of interest is just good sense. It’s a lot easier to pick one or two you are comfortable with and stay focused that spread yourself too thin and use everything.

Quality over quantity
The size of your network should not be a primary focus. Quality over quantity was agreed on across the board as the best strategy. Find people who can teach you something or help you find relevant news and information should be the goal on any network.

Look at social media networks for the movers and shakers and learn from them. Ask for advice and share information to become a resource.

Where do you want to go professionally?

Use social media to educate yourself on where you want to be, not just where you are.

Find out who is influential in a topic you want to get into, who do they follow and talk to?

Emulate the people working in the areas you want to be in, both so you fit into the culture and so it is easier to get to know the influencers there and learn from them 

Everyone on the panel uses Twitter regularly. Some for news and research, others for team communication, professional development and keeping an eye on the competition.

Jana uses it as her primary news source (as do I).

Using Twitter’s advanced search find people working in the places you want to be. Get to know who they are and who they follow. You can learn a lot about an industry and a company by doing searches and creating lists around your areas of interest. Then use those lists to stay up to date.

We talked a bit about Vine and how it is being used by a broad scope of people, from filmmakers to big brands and marketers, even some Twitter and Vine resumes or request for product information.


Linkedin is becoming a more vibrant place with richer content.

Keep your profile up to date.

When your position changes within the company or a friend’s position changes, that’s a good time to reach out to people for recommendations and/or support them. People may remember you but not the specific skill sets later. Get those recommendations while they’re hot.

Browse company pages to learn more about the company, who works there and what matters to them. Is this a place you want to work?

Use the new Contacts   feature to browse and manage your contacts and keep in touch with them.

Keep your profile up-to-date whether you’re looking for a job or not.

Now with more and more content going through LinkedIn there is an opportunity to be seen as an information resource for your LinkedIn connections.

Share and share some more, all pertinent to where you want to go or where you are right now.

A great place to post questions in the space you are interested in working in, or answering questions about which you have expertise

LaSandra mentioned her husband getting requests from journalists for information and they re-post with attribution

Not many on the panel are super-users, but the power of having a presence on Google+ for local businesses, adding the authorship tags to your blog to establish your authority on a topic can’t be ignored.

This is where more casual relationships are maintained. Personal friends and family. Though Cisco does maintain a number of pages they have a lighter side to them than business pages.

A show of hands for who would follow a Facebook page for a recruitment company yielded practically no-one for a Facebook page, for Twitter, 60% raised their hands, and on LinkedIn 80%.

Internal networks
Use your internal corporate networks and tools like Chatter or Yammer to reach out within your organization to others of like minds.

Be a resource within your organization. People will look to you for answers and soon you’ll be the go-to girl.

What networks are people using within your organization? Look for the rock stars here too, get to know them by starting a conversation.

 Social media isn’t about you

Think about more than how you can use social media for your personal benefit, think globally. How can you help others? Reach out to the world!

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