You’ve probably heard these points of networking advice by now–you need to be on LinkedIn, you need to manage your professional image on Facebook and you should probably be using Twitter more to build your personal brand.
If you’re like most students, using all these social networks can be overwhelming. So the question becomes, “Which platform can give you the biggest leap forward for your time invested?”
Right now, the answer is Google+. After launching just last year, Google+ is up to 90 million members. The platform has been gaining momentum every day and now Google+ has hit a sweet spot–it’s big enough for you to meet a lot of influential people, but not too big, where all your messages will get lost in a sea of noise.
Over the last two weeks InternMatch has been using Google+ to host our internship hangout, and it has been amazing to discover just how open people are to networking and sharing content on the service.
For those who are still uncertain about which platforms to use to get an edge professionally, here are 5 reasons why you need to check out Google+:
1.) It’s wide open!
Right now, the level of access to influential people on Google+ is shocking. Recruiters, heads of HR, and other industry leaders have flocked to the new platform, but don’t know exactly what to do next. These people are more willing here, than anywhere else on the web to engage in conversations and build relationships with students. Every platform experiences this window after the early adopters settle in, but before the masses and spam-bots show up. Make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity!
2.) It’s tied to your Gmail account.
When InternMatch ran an on-site survey about whether or not students would use Facebook to apply for internships, over 70% said no. The most common reason was that students didn’t want their professional lives tied to their personal lives. Google+ is synced to your Gmail account, so rather than having to privatize your party pictures, or build an entirely new network like on LinkedIn, you can pull-in your email contacts and quickly ramp up a new professional profile.
3.) Hangouts, hangouts, and more hangouts
The most novel feature on Google+ is hangouts. These group video conversations can be led by either individuals or businesses. If you find the right hangouts, they offer an amazing opportunity to network face-to-face with higher-ups at companies or with industry leaders. We recommend checking out the hangouts hosted by Jeff Moore at Google, as well as any others being led by a company you hope to work for. Connecting in a hangout can quickly turn into an introduction to someone else within a company and hopefully into a job interview.
4.) Share content with who you want.
The biggest weapon Google brought to the social media gunfight is the concept of circles. Circles let you separate your followers into groups and manage what content goes where. This means you can show fun/funny stuff to friends, and professional/serious materials to business contacts only–this is a unique feature to Google+.
5.) Have fun!
Lastly, remember to have fun. People are still experimenting with how to use Google+, and should feel free to do the same! I’d love to hear any networking or professional hints you’ve discovered while using the service.
Nathan is co-founder and Director of Marketing at InternMatch.com. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Nathan joined long-time friend and co-founder, Andrew Maguire in starting InternMatch to build a better way for students to find interesting internships. Nathan has spoken at Stanford, University of Washington, and countless other west coast schools on how to find the right career and stand out in a tough job market. Nathan enjoys meeting new people, the challenges of startup life, and helping students navigate their future — feel free to email him internship or any other questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.