I had a Google+ profile for about a year before I really started using it. In the beginning, my profile consisted of a photo I hastily uploaded and whatever information I could complete within the five minutes before I returned to my Twitter account. When I would receive an email notification that one of my contacts had taken the time to add me to their circles I would barely take notice. I had no time for Google+. I also didn’t understand it…
In January of this year Google+ surpassed Twitter as the second largest social media platform in the world with more than 500 million users and over 925,000 new users every day. Since it’s inception in 2011, nearly 50% of companies have rated Google+ as important to their business. Just last year 15% of marketers acquired a customer specifically from this social channel. Part social media platform and part backplane social layer, the great thing about Google+ is that it combines many aspects of the social media channels you’re familiar with into one, with tangible pay off for your community efforts. What’s the pay off? To put it bluntly, Google+ makes you relevant. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has this to say on the matter: “Information tied to online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification… The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
Now, isn’t that what any active job seeker wants – to be relevant? Knowing what you know now, why wouldn’t you consider Google+ an imperative component of not only your job search but any of your online efforts?
In case I haven’t successfully convinced you to get on Google+ and create an account, here are five reasons why Google+ is imperative specifically to your job search:
1. Google+ takes your personal brand to the next level
Having a polished and consistent personal brand is a must – I can’t stress this enough. While all social networking platforms provide an opportunity to build and develop this, Google+ offers significantly more potential. Having an optimized Google+ profile impacts search in a huge way and as Anna Hutson of Formic Media says “Google+ profiles rank well, if not almost always in the top 10, for a branded search, which makes it imperative for professionals to have their profile created, filled out, and optimized.” Now is the time to complete your profile. Make sure you have a solid bio, add links to all your existing social network profiles, websites and blogs and explain what you do. I would suggest using the same profile photo or avatar as you have on other social networks for consistency. Taking these first steps will help define your personal brand to the Google+ audience.
2. Acts as an online portal for other social networks
Google+ acts as an online portal for all your social networking profiles. Linking other social platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter or a blog to your Google+ account increases the likelihood that people will find and interact with you online. Also, because of the extent that Google has integrated Google+ into their network, having a profile offers a lot of SEO bang for your buck.
3. Provides new ways to build and nurture connections that could lead to a job
Google+ Hangouts, the Google+ video chat feature, is a great resource for expanding your network and communicating directly with important contacts in your job search. It’s a great application for informational interviews however, we suggest that rather than focusing your chat on your job search, why not brainstorm creative topics that are relevant to your area of expertise. For example, if you’re looking for employment as a UX Designer, you could organize a chat with several leaders in your network to discuss designing for mobile devices. This networking strategy allows you to showcase your knowledge and value while strengthening your connections. You can subtely incorporate the fact that you’re looking for employment afterwards.
Another Google application that is poised to grow into a crucial networking tool is Google+ Communities. While still far less widely used than LinkedIn Groups, Google+ Communities are more flexible in terms of interaction, tend to generate less spam and have much higher levels of engagement. Get in on the ground floor, before Google+ Communities surpass Linkedin Groups. If there isn’t a Community that serves your area of expertise already, create one!
4. Increases your online visibility and boosts personal SEO
I keep coming back to this one in one way or another. Increasing your personal SEO is probably one of the main benefits of getting on Google+. Having a public and complete Google+ profile will make it easier than ever for people to find you online. We’ve noticed that Hiring Managers are particularly interested in familiarizing themselves with Google+ for sourcing job candidates, so be sure to complete your profile to help potential employers find you!
5. Establishes your authority and expertise
Authority on Google+ isn’t only important for content creators; pay attention job seekers because it also means something to recruiters and hiring managers! Think of yourself just like any competing brand, except you’re competing in the job market for that perfect position. Irrelevance in the eyes of Google’s crawlers could quickly put a damper on your online competing efforts. Here are 7 ways you can work to increase your Author Rank on Google.
Written by Rachel Scott