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On this page: Learn how to use Google+ for your job search.

Guide to Using Google Plus for Job Search

The newest major social network, and also the second biggest, is Google+.

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How does Google Plus compare to other recommended social networks, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook?

Launched by Google in mid-2011, Google Plus (in early 2014) has 540 million members, with Facebook (at 8+ years old) with 1.2 billion members. In the same timeframe, LinkedIn reports 259 million members. So, currently, Google Plus has twice as many members as LinkedIn and is just a bit larger than Twitter.

Social Media for Job Search

I believe there are three big reasons to use social media:

  1. To expand the number of people you know and who know you.
  2. To learn new information pertinent to your field from mentors and thought leaders, and
  3. To illustrate your expertise with a community of people who may connect you to opportunities based on learning about you and what you know.

Google+ allows users to accomplish all of these goals in similar ways to other networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn with some very important differences:

Google+ makes it very easy to open up pathways to connect with people you’ve never met and to engage in an in-depth conversation. This engagement compares, in many ways, to Twitter, where it is possible to connect, meet, and learn from people you don’t already know, without barriers requiring introductions.

Google+’s value add is the fact that Google controls much of search traffic. Any tie to being "found" online and any boost Google+ may provide gives this new network extra value.

Google+ Job Search Tips

Some important aspects about Google+ and tips for job seekers:

Your Google Plus Profile

You may already have a Google profile, but you probably never paid much attention to it! Be sure to set it up by visiting Google+ profiles, even before you start with Google+. Use the same avatar as in your other social networking profiles, and be sure to spend some time selecting a good description for your "Occupation," as Google uses it under your name as your "headline."

It’s important to optimize your profile so it’s easier to find you in search. Be sure to fill in all of the sections accurately, and write your Google profile so it is consistent with your other online profiles.

Circles

The major, lauded aspect of Google+ is the "circles" concept, which allows you to create groups of people, to share content with them, and to view content they share. If you don’t know how to find people to add to your circles, follow this tip from Kelly Dingee on Fistful of Talent. Go to Google and enter: {site:plus.google.com google}. Then include a keyword to help locate others in your field. Kelly suggests, for example: {site:plus.google.com google engineer}. Don’t include the { }s in your search. (This is tip # 8 in Job-Hunt's Googleize Your Job Search.)

Once you find some people to add to your circles, it is okay to look to see who they have in their circles and add people who suit your interests. It’s also fine to "circle" people who don’t circle you. This makes Google+ similar to Twitter, where it is acceptable to find and follow friends of your contacts, even if you don’t already have a relationship. Google+ will also suggest contacts for you.

You’ll probably keep personal and professional circles and want to label them accordingly. You may want circles for your closer contacts and circles for people whose information you value, but you don’t know well. If you’re looking for a job, maybe you’ll have a "Job Search Info" category.

This is similar, in some ways, to "groups" on Twitter. However, it allows you to both share content to the group AND see content from that group only. As of now, people cannot see what circles you put them in; they just know they are in one of your circles.

Communities

Google+ has LinkedIn Group-like collections of members focused on specific topics. Create your own Community, and search the Community directory for Communities to join. Unlike LinkedIn, there is no apparent limit to the number of Communities you can join. However, when you join a Community, you will receive notices when activities take place, like a new posting.

Hangouts

Google Plus enables you to have private video and/or text discussions with up to 100 of your friends via Hangouts, including those in other countries. Free!

Hangouts on Air (HOA)

If you want to open your Hangout audience to many more G+ members, do a "Hangout on Air" or "HOA." Just click on the "Hangouts" link on the "Home" drop-down menu. Clicking it opens up a window where you can join an existing Hangout or schedule your own.

Mashable reports on a new website, GPHangouts.com, which aggregates public hangouts on Google+. You can add your hangout there, and join in conversations with people in your field. These video chats are limited to 10 people, but this can certainly be an opportunity to either meet and get to know people in your field and/or start a "Hangout" and be a leader in your field.

Bottom Line

Google+ promises to be an important addition to social networking strategies, and job seekers should try to keep on top of opportunities to engage and grow their communities and to learn new information using these tools. For more general information about Google+, see Google's introduction to Google+ which includes videos as well as brief articles.

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About the author...

Miriam Salpeter is a Career Action Coach and Owner of Keppie Careers. With a master’s degree from Columbia University and over 12 years of experience, her mission is to encourage, enlighten and empower job seekers and entrepreneurs for success. She teaches best practices to land great career opportunities and offers clients clarity, confidence, and social media know-how. You may follow her on Twitter @Keppie_Careers and on Google Plus.