by Erica Swallow, Mashable
July 25, 2011
Google+ hit 20 million unique visitors this week, and the company launched a mobile app. The stats are impressive, but the new social network has room to grow in catching up with its massive competitors Twitter and Facebook.
Early adopters of Google+ are captivated by the network's growth, as many tech elites — including Mark Zuckerberg, Robert Scoble and Kevin Rose — have amassed large followings in just weeks.
Google+ hasn't hit a mainstream audience yet, but it does seem to be romancing the tech geeks with strong force. Yes, I'm talking about you, fellow Mashable readers. Early adopters, social influencers, tech innovators, digital natives — call yourselves what you will. The bottom line is, you understand the value of digital tools and how they can connect you to people and ideas all over the world.
With so many influential techies flocking to Google+, it's a great place to showcase expertise and learn from others. Here are some tips for using Google+ for your job search.
Announce your availability
Once your profile is completely filled out, and you've begun growing and interacting with your network, don't be shy about letting your contacts know you're on the prowl for work.
This could be as subtle as mentioning it in the "About" section of your Google+ profile, or as public as posting an update to announce that you're looking for new challenges on the career front. If you choose the latter, be original with your post and how you frame it. Try not to sound hopeless — make sure you are confidently communicating your unique skill set and the value you can add to a project or company.
Organize contacts with circles
The key to a fulfilling Google+ experience is Circles, the heart of this social network's organization system. Circles give users control over who sees their content. To connect with another user on Google+, you must add him or her to a Circle, such as "Friends," "Family," "Work" or "Softball Team." Users can create as many Circles as they'd like, though we'd recommend limiting them to a manageable number — having too many can dilute the experience.
For the purposes of seeking a job, it's important to denote which Circles you want to see your messages when you post. If you're posting about your job search, it makes sense to include your industry contacts — which you might put into "Social Media" or "Tech" Circles, for example — but that same post might not be as relevant to your "Friends" or "Family," where a more personal post may be more appropriate.
On the flip side, make sure you're not sharing unprofessional content with your business network. As usual, just use common sense when dealing with privacy and sharing settings.
Host a relevant hangout
John Havens, formerly of Porter Novelli, plans to enhance his job search with Hangouts, Google+'s group video-chat service. Instead of focusing his chat on getting a job, Havens plans on inviting a number of influential contacts to discuss relevant topics, such as the state of social media and virtual currency. He says he'll let participants know that he has been "digitally downsized," and that he's open to discussing new positions afterwards, but that his Hangout will focus on generating intelligent conversation.
"Essentially, I'm trying to think of the best ways to show potential employers that by running a campaign to get myself hired, I'm showing them how I'd bring value to their organizations," Havens says.
Share and follow relevant expertise
In order to be seen as an industry expert, you need to showcase that you know what you're talking about. Tech enthusiasts tend to use Twitter and blogging for this purpose, but Google+ is quickly becoming another outlet for sharing and discovering tastemaker opinions and interesting content.
If you're not a natural at finding and sharing content that connections in your Circles may find valuable, check out Sparks, the product's content recommendation engine. You can define topics you're interested in — or that you want to learn more about — and it will bring up content the algorithm believes you'll find useful. You can add your favorite sparks to the left-hand navigation for easy perusal when you're on your Google+ homepage.
Choosing the right mix of sparks to read each day may lead to you becoming more informed about news and conversation in your industry.
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