Affinity Career Skills Event: Using LinkedIn & Other Social Media for Professional Advantage

Summary: 

“Anyone can use social media effectively,” noted Shawn Slevin, President of P3 HR Consulting and speaker for this HBA Metro event.

Held on November 10, 2009

Written by Betsy Lane

Arnell Davis, Director of HBA Metro Affinity Programs

Arnell Davis, Director of HBA Metro Affinity Programs

“Anyone can use social media effectively,” noted Shawn Slevin, President of P3 HR Consulting and speaker for this HBA Metro event. Shawn defines herself as “a non-technical person who is hardwired to network.” This Career Skills Affinity Group event—Using LinkedIn and Other Social Media for Professional Advantage—was well attended by approximately 40-45 HBA Metro members and was held on November 10, 2009 at Pfizer in New York. Shawn Slevin’s overview of social media is summarized below.

Shawn’s love of networking led her headfirst into social media where she is now active personally and professionally with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Shawn began her entry into social media as a LinkedIn pioneer—when social media was still in its infancy. As Vice President of Human Resources for Cigna, Shawn began using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool at home during off hours, as Cigna did not make the Internet available to employees at that time. After recruiting three executive-level Cigna positions using LinkedIn at home, Shawn convinced Cigna to make LinkedIn available to her at work—the ROI of filling key top-level positions with passive candidates at no cost to the company was too compelling to ignore. While at Cigna, Shawn was filling 25% of all positions through LinkedIn. Today, Shawn uses social media for professional and personal purposes as well as for her nonprofit organization Swim Strong Foundation that promotes saving and changing children’s lives through swimming.

Laurie Murphy and Speaker Shawn Slevin

Laurie Murphy and Speaker Shawn Slevin

Social Media
The web is less than 20 years old and eMail has only been around for about 15 years. Social media is a broad category including online communities, forums, blogs, chat, instant messaging, personal profiles, comment walls, social games, widgets, and more. The one common thread through all social media is that it provides the opportunity for people with common interests to connect globally.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn has become the social media website for professionals; and so today having a profile on LinkedIn is an absolute must. LinkedIn’s concept is based on six degrees of separation and this site provides a platform to leverage those interconnected relationships. LinkedIn profiles have become public curriculum vitae (CVs) for working professionals. Populating a LinkedIn profile so it is 100% complete optimizes professional social networking opportunities available. LinkedIn provides the ability for employers to find employees and for employees to connect with employers. When your name is Googled, your LinkedIn profile is the link that is most likely to be highly ranked. Effectively managing a LinkedIn profile is now a critical step in directing career growth. LinkedIn also offers tremendous functionality including Groups (allowing you to connect with others of like interests), Questions (providing a venue to question or poll your network), Answers (which can serve as a virtual hallway), Events (a listing of conferences and other events your network connections are attending), and Network Updates (the LinkedIn version of Twitter).

Shawn Slevin discusses professional advantages of social media

Shawn Slevin discusses professional advantages of social media

Facebook
At its inception, Facebook’s demographic was concentrated in the college-age crowd. Today, however, Facebook is used by everyone from Gen X, Y, and M to Boomers and retirees. In fact, women over 50 are now the fastest growing segment on Facebook. While many social media sites such as Facebook are more focused on the personal vs the professional, one caveat that all social media users should remember is that the Internet has a “long and unforgiving memory.” Employers now routinely search social media sites as part of background investigation checks. Everyone should consider any content and photographs they publish on social media sites to be open to the public and assume that employers could view any current or past postings. Facebook also has business applications and can also be used by both for-profits and nonprofits by setting up a fan page. Fan pages can give a business an online presence as well as bring alive a business for current or potential customers.

Twitter
Twitter started with the question, “What are you doing?” and allows users to tell their story in 140 characters or less. Twitter is used for many purposes and has tremendous potential including, monitoring friends’ activities, staying up to date with late-breaking news, research, professional dialogue, recruiting, and much more.

The group enjoys an Italian dinner before the program begins

The group enjoys an Italian dinner before the program begins

Blogs
Blogs (which is an abbreviation of the term web logs) are used by everyone from individuals to shopping sites and CEOs. In fact, for job seekers, CEO Blogs can provide a unique insight into “the soul of an organization.”

The Power of Social Media
At its core, all social media is really about connecting with other people, creating dialogue, helping others, and deepening the relationship. Social media is growing in importance and is here to stay. In today’s world, it is increasingly important to create a great social media reputation. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, and other social media sites allow you to create your personal and professional brand for the world to see.

The HBA and Social Media
Connect with the HBA through social media:

HBA Linkedin Group
HBA on Facebook
HBA on Twitter

HBA Metro Chapter on Twitter

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