How to Use Facebook Features for Professional Networking
We don’t usually think of Facebook when it comes to professional networking online. People tend to cast their professional nets on LinkedIn, and reserve their Facebook profiles for personal use – like sharing memes and viral videos.
However, there’s much more to Facebook than just using it for entertainment and leisure – there are features and functions that allow you to join groups, pages, discussions as well as discover events around you that are relevant to the area of work you plan to build your graduate career in.
Here are some pointers on how you can optimise Facebook’s features to your advantage, especially during your job search process.
There are plenty of Facebook groups you can join, ranging from interest groups to hobby groups. If you are looking to grow your professional network, however, you may want to search for groups related to the career sector or industry you are interested in.
You can start out by using search terms or keywords, such as ‘technology’ and ‘Singapore’ (to narrow things down geographically), or industry-specific terms. For instance, you can search for ‘Writers in Singapore’ or ‘Fintech Singapore’. You’ll be able to see a list of groups that match your search term.
Check whether the group you are interested in joining is public or closed. You can join public groups with a simple click of a button, whereas with closed or private groups, you will have to request for an invite.
Tip: Prior to joining the group, you can skim through the group’s interaction and discussions to evaluate whether the type of content interests you. Some groups may be well-established and useful for you, while others may seem abandoned with little activity going on.
Get on the radar
Finding the right groups to join is only the first step. Facebook groups are good for you to meet new people virtually and the online connections you make could be valuable in your career progression. However, you will need to put yourself out there first to be able to connect with anyone in the first place.
Here are several ways you can achieve this:
If you’re nervous about introducing yourself, don’t be! The members of the group you join will likely have the same interests or goals as you, and they will be on the same wavelength as you too. Besides, you’re only introducing yourself virtually!
You can introduce yourself by posting a message on the group about your interests or experiences in the industry and what you’re looking to get from the group.
For instance, you can post a message saying: “I am an electrical engineering graduate with a passion in programming. I participate in hackathons as a hobby, and if anyone here is as big of a geek as I am, feel free to hit me up and chat about it!”
Alternatively, you can look at recent posts that you can respond to or comment on. This will show that you are an active participant, and other members will start noticing you – especially if you have something insightful or interesting to say!
Also, don’t be afraid to start a discussion on the group. You can do this by posting relevant links or news to share knowledge and also get opinions from others in the group.
Who knows – what you comment or share might lead to an in-depth dialogue on the group or even a private conversation on Facebook messenger with someone that could help you in your job search or long-term career journey.
This is another function you can maximise on with Facebook. You can create events on the Facebook group that you are a member of.
Virtual discussions are great, but taking it offline by attending and organising face-to-face meet-ups will help you solidify your connection with like-minded individuals and professionals in the same career field.
If you’re not up for organising an event, you can start with baby steps and attend the events that are organised by other members in the group.
However, don’t limit yourself to just events posted on the groups you join. You can utilise the ‘explore events’ function on Facebook that will give you information on the different types of events organised near you.
Things to consider
Keep things professional
Sometimes, the line between social and professional networking can be blurry, especially on Facebook. While it’s tempting to share an article you find hilarious on the Facebook group you are in, you should think about the professional brand you want to be remembered by.
Ensure that the content you choose to post and share is selective, tactical and relevant to the purpose of the group.
Mind your language
Most of us are guilty of using Internet slang, such as LOL and IMO, on social networking sites. However, it may be a good idea to avoid these when posting or commenting on professional groups on Facebook in order to maintain a positive impression of yourself.
And of course, swearing on Facebook groups is unacceptable. It’s also something you should avoid doing on social media in general too, considering how your posts can be viewed by the general public (not just online group members but recruiters as well!).