Posted on April 2014 By Speller International
LinkedIn is by far and away the most talked about social network in recruitment, and rightly so. But it’s not the only kid on the block…
Welcome to the second instalment of our “Job Seekers, Get Social” series. Last time we indeed reviewed LinkedIn as the preeminent social network for job seekers. This time around we’re taking a look at the ever-mysterious Google Plus.
BUT THAT PLACE IS A GHOST TOWN…
Just last week the New York Times announced Google Plus as a ghost town. It was an eye-grabbing headline that drew on the fact that you are much less likely to find that long lost high school friend of yours on Google Plus than you are on Facebook. We might add that your probability of connecting with someone in your “real world” business network on LinkedIn is also higher. (Note: click here for an interesting response to the NYT article…many people disagreed). But if you understand the difference between these networks and what they are trying to achieve you begin to see what Google Plus brings to the table, for users generally, for businesses and importantly, for job seekers. You don’t need a billion users to make a social network valuable to you; all you need is that network to give you easier access to a handful of influential people. And Google Plus can often do exactly that.
OK, I’M INTERESTED, NOW TELL ME MORE…
A common theme we hear from Google Plus users is that it plays a specific role in their social media routines. Whereas Facebook is the ideal place to interact with friends and family and LinkedIn an ideal place to build business networks, you’ll hear Google Plus users say (among other things) that it is a better place to interact with like-minded people – be they friends, colleagues or strangers – whom share common interests with you. Put simply, it facilitates access. More often than not these common interests that bring people together on Google Plus are professional ones, like SAP for example. To these users Google Plus provides a place to indulge and share in these interests free from the perceived noise and clutter of other networks.
It’s important to note that Google doesn’t necessarily want to compete with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter directly. As a result, it offers users something different. For job seekers, this means looking at Google Plus and its features as new and powerful additions to their toolbox. So without further ado, allow us to share some of our top tips and at the same time highlight some of these features in the context of job seeking.
1. First things first, let’s get an account
What a lot of people don’t realise is that if you’ve ever used another Google service such as Gmail, Google Apps or YouTube then you already have a Google Plus account.
To find out if you do, go here first: plus.google.com, and try logging in (you might even find you are logged in automatically).
If you do not yet have a Google Account simply select “Create An Account” at the top right and follow the prompts.
2. Optimise your profile…
Filling out your profile is mostly a relatively straightforward exercise. But here are some top tips especially for job seekers:
Remember to make all the information that would be relevant to recruiters public. (But be careful when Google prompts you for contact information, this is a bit of a trap to look out for – you don’t need the world seeing your phone number!)
Be sure to fill out your profile so it is 100% complete (this maximises your visibility not only inside Google Plus but also on Google’s main search results pages). This helps you control what people see when they Google your name!
Use the same photo on Google Plus as you do on LinkedIn to make you more easily recognisable to recruiters.
Leverage the “Story” section (the equivalent to your “Summary” on LinkedIn), as this will be a primary source of information for recruiters.
Make sure to use keywords in your “Story” and “Work” sections to increase your visibility as recruiters search Google Plus for candidates.
3. Organise contacts into “Circles”
A fundamental distinction between Google Plus and LinkedIn is that instead of connecting (which represents a mutually agreed to “relationship” inside LinkedIn), on Google Plus you simply follow people instead. You can choose to follow anyone of significance to you (whether you know them or not), and you will see posts that they have publicly made (note: they do not need to give you permission for this). Twitter works in similar fashion.
You can then organise the people you follow into “Circles”, a handy innovation only available on Google Plus. (Hint: when you add someone to a Circle they will be notified, thus bringing you to their attention, often leading them to your profile).
Circles can be very powerful for job seekers…
You can create a circle for important people within an organisation you aspire to work in
You can create a circle of influential people in SAP to stay abreast of latest developments
You can create a circle for recruitment consultants in the SAP market
Circles allow you to hone in on the activities and conversations taking place between people whom you’ve closely categorised therefore giving you powerful insights. You can also join in on these conversations and engage directly with people of influence. This is networking on steroids!
4. Join Google Plus Communities
Communities on Google Plus are the equivalent to LinkedIn’s Groups. There are many thriving SAP Communities on Google Plus, which you can easily find with some keyword searching. Both Communities and groups can be great places to network and learn.
5. Be in the conversation
As we mentioned before, tracking conversations inside Circles and joining those conversations can be a great way to get noticed.
Always be sure to engage in valuable and unobtrusive ways with people in your circles. Questions can be powerful networking tools because often people love to share their knowledge and expertise. However, we advise against questions that may seem needy…such as asking if someone can give you a job!
Remember, a great way to get people’s attention and earn some good will is to share their content. Here’s a quick advanced tip: when doing so, place a “+” and their name in your post and they will be alerted that you are sharing their content (don’t overdo this one but now and then you should get some credit!).
6. Share interesting content
Your carefully crafted story and work history is and will always be essential information to recruiters. But your thoughts, opinions and general activities are also powerful indicators of your professional persona. Sharing interesting content on Google Plus – as well as other social networks – is an easy and powerful way to demonstrate you’re savvy and stand out.
When sharing content on Google Plus be sure to use hashtags to make your posts more discoverable to other users. You never know when a recruiter might be exploring a hashtag you’ve used and chance upon your insightful post! (For a quick lesson on hashtags please go here).
7. Patience is a virtue my friend
Google Plus alone, in fact any social network alone, will not necessarily land you your dream job. It will take you time to build your circles, and to establish relationships and a history of posts that paint a full and accurate enough picture of who you are. Also, Google Plus is evolving and much of what you do now should be seen as an investment into the future. We predict it will become more and more relevant in the recruitment space.
With social media your main purpose is to build your online reputation over time. Keeping your activity up even when you have a job or a contract is important because the pay-off comes over time and as a result of consistent participation.
On that note, may we say that this is by no means a definitive guide…
…There is much more to know about Google Plus than we could squeeze into a blog article, so we encourage you to do your own exploring. And you can start right here by reading the following additional resources or by leaving your feedback and questions in our comments section below. Good luck!