The Internet can be an incredibly powerful resource for any professional in any field looking to build a stronger network. And while most IT technicians spend much of their time out in the field, platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even blogging websites can help field techs to build more authority in the industry, connect to potential employers, and earn the trust of valued clients.
LinkedIn: A Digital Networking Event
For professionals looking to build their career online, the first stop should always be LinkedIn. For the uninitiated, LinkedIn is a business networking platform. It’s social media, but with a very specific focus on connecting professionals and helping them find opportunities for work. Before getting broad with your online presence, make sure you have a robust LinkedIn profile that’s as up-to-date and thorough as your resume. Many employers will research candidates online before even setting up interviews, and LinkedIn is the first place they’ll look.
After you do the bare minimum to make an appearance on LinkedIN, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make new connections and grow professionally, such as their Pulse content hub. A good way to make the most of LinkedIn is to join active IT professional groups –you’ll stay on top of industry news and could learn from fellow technicians.
Twitter: Breaking Down Barriers
One of the greatest strengths of LinkedIn is also one of its drawbacks: structure. In order to freely communicate with someone on LinkedIn, you must be directly connected with them.
The same is not true for Twitter—in fact, it’s the exact opposite. On Twitter, you’re much more free to follow users of interest to you, to enter into conversation with them, and (if you have something good to say)attract them to you. You can send a Tweet to the attention of anyone from a CEO to your favorite celebrity, and if it’s worded right, you might just get their attention.
To use Twitter as a professional platform, remember everything you tweet is public. Think about the companies, organizations, and individuals you’re most interested in within the industry and follow them. You can also utilize hashtags (words or phrases marked with the # symbol) to find and enter industry conversations. This list of tech hashtags is a good starting point for finding other Twitter users who share your professional interests.
Professional Blogs: Your Personal Printing Press
As you build your network on LinkedIn and Twitter, you may find that 140 characters just aren’t enough to share your thoughts about your industry. Those thought leaders you follow on LinkedIn and Twitter built their reputation by publishing their ideas regularly. And while you may not be aiming to build a personal brand as a writer or public speaker, blogging offers a free and effective medium for you to showcase your professional interests and expertise.
Start simply by writing about unique situations or challenges you face on your jobs. Don’t overcommit yourself; writing once or twice a month consistently will be enough to get you into a routine. And remember, be smart about mentioning clients or colleagues by name.
As you grow more comfortable, turn your attention back to LinkedIn and Twitter as places to promote your blog.
Whether your goal is to eventually build a following, to simply document your experience, or to prove your value to a potential employer, the web provides plenty of opportunities for IT technicians (or any professionals) to extend their reach and attract new business.