Two Cents from TRAK: Networking in DC

Thanks to your questions from our last post! If you have a question, submit it below! This week we tackle Social Media and Networking in DC.

Question #1: What is appropriate when it comes to social networking? What sites should I include on my resume and how private does everything really need to be? How do I use it in my professional life and job search?

This is an outstanding question and one that in this town and in this culture is really important.  Having some sort of a social media “finger print” while on the job search is something that I know as a recruiter who works with multiple hiring managers is really important. You want to be Googleable during your job search, but you also want to ensure that what potential employers will find when they research you is both professional and presents you in a positive light. I suggest Googling yourself before posting your resume to be sure you do have a positive online image. Including links to professional job-related internet resources is something I certainly suggest. Limiting accessibility to private life and opinions is also important to keep in mind.

Facebook: Should be kept to personal life only.  It is unnecessary to totally change your Facebook name so that even your close friends can’t find you during your job search. Employers know that everyone has a Facebook.  Ensure that all of your privacy settings are put on the highest protection and that your Wall and personal photos cannot be seen.  I suggest having some sort of a positive default picture and banner photo.  If you are interviewing for political jobs, it’s okay (but not necessary) to have some sort of political message set as either, but be aware future employers will see these things. A good rule to keep in mind is that if you would be comfortable with your grandparents, or a new friend’s parents, seeing your Facebook when they aren’t friends with you it’s probably fine.  If not, pick something more professional.

LinkedIn: Is something that every job seeker should have. It is the quickest way for a potential employer to do some quick and easy research about you. It is also is a great way to professionally brand yourself and your showcase your work history.

  • Always have a business professional profile photo that is only of you.
  • Format your page less like a resume and more like a basic summary of your top three to five primary responsibilities in each job.
  • If you have a supervisor who you know well and would feel comfortable asking, it is always useful to have a recommendation or two from employers on your page.
  • It is neither necessary nor frowned upon to have a link to your LinkedIn on your resume. Whatever you prefer is fine.

Twitter: Can be tricky. I suggest keeping your personal Twitter as private as possible. If your Tweets are accessible it is entirely possible for a future employer to read them and may very well pass judgments about you even before interviewing based upon comments you have made on your Twitter feed.  Less than a month ago we had a client who was unwilling to interview a candidate after reviewing the person’s resume and determining they were qualified for the job, strictly because they had looked at the potential employee’s feed and determined they seemed too “whiny”. This is something to simply be aware of when Tweeting.  If you have a more professional Twitter feed that is tailored towards the industry for which you are interviewing, be sure that your Tweets are field appropriate, time relevant, and something that will showcase your skills. If this is the case, feel free to include a link to your Twitter on your resume.

Blogs: Can be really useful depending on how they are used.  If you are seeking a position in a specific field – say international affairs and PR – developing a professional blog to highlight your writing skills, technical abilities, and knowledge of the field can be to your advantage. Be sure your page is professional (remember the grandma comment) and proof read by someone other than you.  If this is something you have created, include a link on your resume. Blogs with personal interests, as long as they are professional, are also acceptable, but not necessary to put on your resume. During your search taking down blogs that are overly revealing of personal life or that could be considered provocative.

Question #2: How do I find networking events around DC?

Luckily, DC is a network-focused city, so there is never a shortage of great events to attend! Many of these resources are helpful whether you are a job-seeker, looking to grow your business, or hoping to develop professionally.

Cloture Club – this list is one of the best in the city and is a great place to find free receptions on and off the Hill. Many are politically-focused events but a great resource. Also, make sure you sign up for their newsletter. You can get email reminders about upcoming events worthy of attending!

Ladies DC – A young professional women’s networking group. Their main objective is to help other women advance personally and professionally. A great organization with many networking events. If you’re a woman in this town, this is a great group to join.

Young Professionals in Foreign Policy – One of the largest groups in town, like minded individuals who speak foreign policy. There are no prerequisites and you don’t have to work at the state department. Just be interested in foreign issues! This group is the best in the area.

Washington Business Journal – is a respected source of information in the DC market and offers fantastic articles as well as a great events calendar. Most of these events are not free, but keep an eye out for events related to your field and splurge on the ones that have the most potential!

LinkedIn – a great way to find events in DC, is to join groups on LinkedIn and keep an eye out for posts about networking opportunities and events. Search for groups that are in your profession, related to your personal interests, political views, or are DC-networking focused.

Network After Work – is specifically focused on networking events. Many of my coworkers attended these events and have had great feedback!

College and University Alumni Chapters – many schools have active alumni chapters in the DC area that offer happy hours and events for their members. Look them up on Facebook or LinkedIn, or reach out to your school’s alumni office to get the chapter president’s contact information. Also, look into alumni chapters for fraternities, sororities, or other clubs and activities you were involved in. A great way to get more involved is to volunteer your own time to help coordinate these events. This way you are seen as someone “in the know” within your pre-established network.

DC Linktank – is another great source for events and job openings. They post events all over the city, in addition to panels and networking opportunities they sponsor. Also, check out their newsletter called Weekbook to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

Personal Involvement – one of the best ways to build your network is to get involved. By building your personal network, you will find out about other events, job openings, and business opportunities. Consider volunteering or joining your state society, look into museum memberships, join a sports league (Bocce Ball, or WAKA), or check out Meetups in the area!


Next Post:  Send us your questions to hear our TRAK Two Cents on everything resume related!

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We hope you enjoyed our article on Networking in DC. Until Next Post,
Sarah I. and Sarah G.

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