L’importance des réseaux sociaux

On parle beaucoup en ce moment de la nocivité des réseaux sociaux, de comment les jeunes se montrent de plus en plus dépendants de ces monstres de l’âge moderne, alimentant leurs egos avec des ‘likes’ ou des ‘shares’.  Pourtant, jusqu’à quel point ces affirmations sont-elles vraies ? Sont-elles, en fait, seulement une manière de diaboliser une génération, tout en rejetant les outils aussi efficaces qui sont les réseaux sociaux ?

Sites tels que Facebook et Twitter nous permettent de garder contact avec nos proches, sans avoir recours à envoyer ses photos et ses petites pensées à chaque personne individuellement. Certes, des images sans fin du petit-déjeuner d’un ancien ami de la fac ou de son chien si mignon peuvent embêter, mais sans doute sa mère est heureuse de partager un petit moment dans la vie de son fils. Il suffit de bloquer ceux qui t’énervent ainsi, pour que vous ne puissiez rester en contact qu’avec ceux qui comptent dans votre vie. Bien qu’il existe un degré d’égoïsme autour des ‘likes’,  l’important pour la plupart des gens est de se sentir plus proche à ceux qui sont peut-être physiquement éloignés.

Qui plus est, les réseaux sociaux peuvent se servir comme moyen de faire de nouvelles connaissances. Par exemple, des étudiants qui viennent d’arriver dans une nouvelle ville peuvent s’inscrire aux groupes Erasmus sur Facebook pour rencontre des amis, rester informés quant aux événements ou même pour faire des échanges linguistiques, ainsi rendant sa vie plus facile.

Tout cela sans parler des avantages au sein des entreprises, qui sont aussi nombreux. Le facebook d’une entreprise est maintenant le centre de sa présence en ligne, et c’est par ce moyen que ses clients choisissent de lui communiquer, qu’il soit pour exprimer leurs plaintes ou pour faire l’éloge. Les entreprises peuvent également se servir des réseaux plutôt stylés, tels que Instagram ou Pinterest, comme outil de publicité, puisqu’il y a tout un monde de blogueurs qui sont prêts à publiciser n’importe quel produit. Donner un produit gratuit à un blogueur  est beaucoup moins cher que payer une campagne publicitaire, et en fait les clients se sentent beaucoup plus proches à eux, fessant plus confiance à son blogueur préféré qu’à une pub à la télé. Même le réseau assez jeune ‘Snapchat’ commence à être utilisé pour diffuser événements avec ses ‘histoires’ publiques, auxquelles les utilisateurs peuvent soumettre leurs photos et vidéos et ainsi fournir de la publicité gratuite. Et n’oublions pas l’importance du géant Linkedin qui compte maintenant 160 millions de membres autour du monde et qui agit comme outil important chez les chasseurs de têtes, de même qu’une plateforme pour construire les relations professionnelles.

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Voilà pourquoi les réseaux sociaux ne sont pas les diables que vous les croyez ! À condition que vous soyez prudent avec leur utilisation, ils peuvent vous offrir un monde d’opportunités dans votre vie professionnelle aussi bien que dans votre vie privée. Si vous avez aimé ce blog, vous pouvez lire plus ici, et n’oubliez pas de consulter nos offres d’emploi pour les assistants bilingues à Paris !

The French vs. the British

Talk of cultural differences has fuelled the love-hate relationship between the French and British for centuries.  Yet, for the first time, some groundbreaking research in the name of LinkedIn buzzwords could distinguish the French frogs from the British rosbifs.  The largest professional networking site has released the top ten most common words to feature on its users’ profiles in 2014 in both France and Britain.  So, in light of this, how differently do the French and British describe themselves in a professional context?

Firstly, here’s a copy of the top 10 buzzwords or mots clés for both countries:


Interestingly, both the French and the British overwhelmingly described themselves as “creative”, “motivated”, “passionate” and “strategic” in the workplace.  So far then, so much in common.

Yet after this, slight differences between the two nationalities begin to surface.  According to LinkedIn, the French are self-declared “experts” with a “specialist” skill set.  The British, on the other hand, believe themselves to have a “wide range” of abilities.

Contextually, this doesn’t really come as a surprise.  Hierarchy in France is very much respected and getting to the top requires years of studying, so to call oneself an expert in a certain field is to be held in the highest esteem.  The majority of professions require a corresponding Masters degree and a considerable change in career is notably harder to achieve in France.  The British, on the other hand, are relatively more lax about degree titles and regard professional experience as more important.  What they lack in educational expertise, they make up for with a proven “track record” of “extensive experience” as well as “drive” and “enthusiasm” (or so they claim)!

The critical difference, however, is that the French declare themselves to possess “international experience” and “multicultural” skills, noticeably absent from their British counterparts’ list.  With the global business language being English, perhaps the Brits feel international experience to be less vital.  The French, on the other hand, faced with a more challenging economic situation, may feel obliged to prove themselves capable of adapting to foreign markets.

Nonetheless, LinkedIn has such a considerable following in both countries it seems that the world is getting smaller rather than bigger.  The fact that both French and British workers have chosen to use an American networking site to sell their skills suggests a move towards the international worker, where cultural specificities are becoming irrelevant on the global market.

So, with these points in mind, what does your LinkedIn profile say about you?  Do you use more English or French buzzwords?  If any at all?  On a final alternative note, an interesting outlier comes from the Netherlands where “sustainable” made the list of top ten buzzwords last year: does this mean their offices are filled with environmental enthusiasts?

If you liked this article, take a look at our blog for more.  And if you’re currently looking for a job, whether you’re French or British (or any other nationality for that matter), consult our job offers here.

B.Y.O.D…. Coming to an office near you!

How long did you spend guessing what the acronym stands for?  A while?  Not long?  If you were quick off the mark, chances are your company has adopted a Bring Your Own Device to work policy.  Gone are the days of being provided with a company laptop and phone, as businesses move towards allowing their employees to use their own personal smartphone or tablet for work purposes.

In an effort to cut costs, companies are BYOD-ing with increasing vigour.  Statistics speak for the advantages; a report published by Cisco in 2012 found 89% of companies in the nine countries queried to have enabled their employees to use their own devices at work.  Companies save not only on supplying the actual hardware and software but also because of increased productivity as working offsite becomes a possibility.

Yet, one would have thought that such a policy would have provoked some backlash on the basis that company technology, previously provided, is now being funded out of employees’ pockets.  Furthermore, is there the unspoken expectation that employees should be working around the clock, leaving the office only then to work from home?

On the contrary, research shows that being able to use your own devices at work actually increases employee satisfaction.  As Dermot McCann, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand at Kaseya, states, “Mobile professionals have their own clear preferences, whether it’s Android or Apple’s iOS iPhone and iPad devices, and they don’t want their employer dictating one over the other”.  This is what companies can capitalise on; with the general public now being the net consumers of avant-garde technology, buying the latest models as soon as they become available, companies can bypass the installation of new IT systems which is time consuming and costly.  If employees already have cutting-edge technology, it makes little sense to purchase it twice.  Hallelujah for management intent on cost-cutting and improving employee satisfaction.

However, here’s the hitch:

With the need for multiple operating systems to access a central corporate IT system from anywhere, company security is increasingly at risk.  As employees store files on their smartphones, keeping track of confidential property is proving somewhat of a headache for the IT department.  Lawyers are equally perplexed at how to draw up a liability contract when the line between the personal and professional spheres has become so blurred.  With greater power to employees, who is responsible for the safeguarding of company material: IT or the individual?

As such, the implementation of BYOD requires increased employee training on adhering to the latest privacy procedures as well as advice on how to protect company confidentiality.  Having raised some of the most common concerns, here are some steps you should follow as an employee of a company which has adopted BYOD:

  • Acquaint yourself with the company policy on the use of personal devices in the workplace. Make sure you know the limits and the responsibilities of the policy.
  • Check whether your company obliges you to install certain security/antivirus software or encrypt your device.
  • Have you backed up your device according to company guidelines? Data loss may be your responsibility.
  • Ensure that you have downloaded (and know how to implement) the appropriate device wiping app in the event that your phone/tablet gets lost or stolen.

Did you find this advice useful?  Share it with your contacts!  Then, have a look at our job offers on our webpage here and more useful advice here.  Thanks for reading!

Is the future of ‘the Cloud’ looking overcast?

Apple’s iCloud security system seemed to be in hot water last week when private photos of celebrities were published on the web and quickly spread through cyberspace.  Apple was quick to deny the allegations, stating that the hacker had retrieved the photos not through a breach of its security system, but rather through a persistent attack on passwords, usernames and security questions.

Nonetheless, concern has been raised over just how protected our data stored on the Cloud is.  And, more significantly, should ultimate liability for the security of our data lie in our hands or those of the company in question?  Given that our daily lives are forecast to be under the shadow of the Cloud forever more, how to use it securely to your advantage has never been more critical.  With this in mind, here are some crucial guidelines you should follow to keep your personal information as protected as possible and to avoid a cyberstorm.

Two-Factor Authentification

Most large companies, including Apple and Google, have introduced a security feature which is yet to be embraced by everyone: two-factor authentification.  Should you wish to access your account, not only will you need your username and password but also a code sent to your personal device, be it your mobile phone or iPad, which will shortly expire after login.  This security measure goes one step further than the mere use of passwords (evidently vulnerable to expert hackers) since possession of the handheld device connected to your account is also required.  To set up this measure on your Apple account, follow these instructions.

Password Protection

We’re ambushed by password advice: change it regularly, use a combination of numbers and letters (lower and upper case) and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.  Yet did you ever think about your security questions?  When filling them in to retrieve your password (‘What is your mother’s maiden name?’ instantly springs to mind), never supply real answers but use random combinations of words and numbers instead, such as RedDog145.  This could reduce the chance of your account getting into undesirable hands.

Keep It Offline

Yet, most importantly, if you don’t want it out of your hands, keep it offline.  It’s difficult for the non computer-savvy among us to keep up with the latest in high-tech security advice.  Better to exercise caution than to regret it later.  Ensure auto-sync to the iCloud is not set up on your Apple account because even once your documents are deleted from your phone or your laptop they may not have been eradicated from the Cloud.  Access this set-up under your iCloud settings and turn off documents and Photo Stream.

All in all, large companies have routinely relied on customer trust: do we really question what they do with our information or do we naively click ‘Agree’?  The latest attack might just bring about changes in the way companies explain the Cloud to regular consumers, which will hopefully lead to greater visibility for all.

A social media review of 2012.

2012 has experienced highs such as that of the Olympics and Paralympics in London and lows including Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school and we have rushed to document these events and more via tweets, statuses and photos. The influence of social media as a method of communication, education and information is undeniable and it seems like social media sites are only set to grow. So, as we will shortly arrive at the end of the year, let’s take the opportunity now to look at the main talking points of the year.

Pinterest

The astronomical ascent of Pinterest sparked the interest of the social media world. Pinterest is a image sharing social network where one has the opportunity to create online scrap books, which are called ‘boards’. Users are able to ‘pin’ images by uploading pictures or videos and pilfering from websites or other users’ accounts. The website has a predominantly female demographic with the typical trending images being clothes, cute animals or cakes. However, as businesses are beginning to realise the potential ROI, the website is starting to attract a large male audience.

Viral Videos

Kony 2012 began the influx of viral videos of 2012. The film was to promote the organisation, Invisible Children’s campaign which called for the arrest of International Crime Court fugitive, Joseph Kony. The film received positive and negative reception and the virality ensued a follow-up film. However, the second film didn’t reach the success of the first Kony film which to date has over 95 million views. Other viral videos of the year included Carly Rae Jepsen’s summer anthem Call Me Maybe, Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking parachute jump and GloZell Green’s hilarious cinnamon challenge. However, none match the feat of Psy’s Gangnam Style, which received the accolade of the most watched YouTube video of all time, amassing a total of over 990 million views.  This video montage shows the viral videos of 2012:

London 2012

The Olympic and Paralympic Games were hailed as the ‘World’s First Social Games’ and became the most tweeted event of 2012. Staggering statistics included 9.66 million tweets during the Opening Ceremony, 116 million related posts and comments were published on Facebook and 231 million videos were viewed on YouTube. Perhaps the most impressive stat is that by the time Usain Bolt finished the 100m in 9.63 seconds, 2 million related posts on the internet were shared. The incredible amount of tweets also led to Twitter crashing, demonstrating the magnitude of online sharing.

Social Media Faux-Pas

Of course, it wouldn’t be social media without a few public gaffes and this year was no exception. British high-end supermarket Waitrose asked their Twitter followers why they shop at Waitrose using the following hashtag #WaitroseReasons and received responses such as: ‘I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people’ and ‘I shop at Waitrose because I was once at the Holloway Rd Branch and heard a dad say “Put the papaya down, Orlando!’. The Waitrose PR team responded to the incident with this tweet, ‘Thanks for all the genuine and funny #waitrosereasons tweets.We always like to hear what you think and enjoyed reading most of them.’ However, Waitrose may have had the last laugh as the incident reinforced their high-end image which is hardly bad publicity!

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy showed the scope of potential social media could offer in future disaster relief efforts. Authorities used social media to communicate with the otherwise unreachable public and the public used social media sites to connect, communicate and collaborate to organise Sandy clear up events. As the public took to social networks to upload photos and videos of the devastation, it has been noted that these first-hand accounts could aid the authorities along with scientific and emergency services to predict future weather patterns and to put better flood and hurricane protection measures in place.

US Presidential Elections 2012

Talk of the US presidential elections dominated the social networks as supporters of Obama and Romney battled it out. After a long election campaign, when news broke that Obama had clinched his second term as president, the tweet, Four more years accompanied with the now historic photo of Obama hugging the First Lady became the most retweeted photo of all-time being shared over 643,135 times.

Pope joins Twitter

A telling sign of the influence of social media has to be when traditional institutions such as the Church use social media to connect with their following. In December, the Pope joined the tweeting masses, racking up over 1 million followers within 2 weeks of joining.  In related news, senior Anglican bishops will tweet their Christmas sermons to the masses and they are even encouraging worshippers to tweet during the service.

2012 has been a tumultuous year in the world of social media and it looks like there will be more in store in 2013. From everyone at TM International, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What have been your highlights of 2012?

Comment gérer votre e-réputation bien

Récemment, j’ai lu un article, ‘Must-have Job Skills in 2013’ et il ressort que l’une des compétences désirée et nécessaire est le <<personal branding>>. L’influence des réseaux sociaux est incontestable si l’on en juge par la croissance de Facebook, de Twitter,  de LinkedIn ces dernières années. Malgré la perception erronée qu’il vaut mieux éviter les réseaux sociaux, il vous faut profiter de cette occasion pour contrôler et optimiser votre image professionnelle.

Image via s_falkow

Pourquoi être présent sur les réseaux sociaux ? D’abord, l’internet est la première étape de recherche pour les recruteurs donc il est nécessaire de saisir la chance pour donner la meilleure première impression. En outre, les entreprises commencent à reconnaître le pouvoir des réseaux sociaux. De plus en plus entreprises demandent à leurs employés à de tweeter sur leur nom, d’écrire un blog, afin de contribuer effectivement au développement des médias sociaux d’entreprise. Il est donc essentiel que vous sachiez comment utiliser les médias sociaux à votre avantage. Finalement,  vous pouvez vous représenter  comme un expert dans votre domaine et cela permet de vous ouvrir les portes plus facilement. Donc, ce serait une erreur de croire que l’on peut ignorer les réseaux sociaux.

Afin de bien vous représenter bien, décidez les meilleurs méthodes et moyens pour communiquer. Commencez par être présent sur les réseaux sociaux principaux cela  veut dire Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.), écrivez des blogs pour démontrer votre savoir-faire, interconnectez vous en partageant des articles de vos connections et répondez aux questions et discussions sur les forums. Pour être efficace, ne partagez que des articles etc., donnez votre avis et partagez vos pensées. Toutefois, n’hésitez pas à montrer votre vie en dehors du travail, il est important de montrer vos intérêts et votre sens  de l’humour pour bien faire savoir que vous êtes humain ! Ces mesures contribueraient à bien établir votre e-réputation.

Il faut cependant considérer les choses à ne pas faire pour optimiser votre <<personal branding>>. Premièrement, un profil incomplet est une erreur très facile à éviter.  Comme je l’ai déjà dit, vos comptes de réseaux sociaux sont votre première impression et un profil incomplet peut donner une impression que vous êtes paresseux et vous vous souciez peu de votre image. A noter également qu’une présence inconsistante nuit à votre efficacité en ligne. Essayez de mettre à jour vos comptes régulièrement ainsi que les transmissions des nouvelles et la maintenance des rapports en ligne. Sans aucun doute, la chose la plus importante  à retenir est qu’il est essentiel de toujours présentez une image professionnelle de vous. 69% de recruteurs ont rejeté un candidat à cause de son image représentée sur les réseaux sociaux. Les principales raisons ? 13% ont menti sur ses qualifications, 11% ont dénoncé son chef ou ses collègues et 10% ont publié un contenu inapproprié. N’oubliez pas qu’il est très facile d’accéder aux informations et les gaffes en ligne ont une tendance à réapparaître. Par conséquent ayez la sagesse rétrospective et pensez bien avant de publier en ligne !

Naturellement, il faut être sensible aux pièges des réseaux sociaux mais leur croissance marque indéniablement un changement sur lequel on doit s’adapter.

Alors, qu’attendez-vous ? Inscrivez-vous et créez votre e-réputation !

Facebook – est-il possible d’assurer notre confidentialité en ligne ?

Image via Steel Wool (Flickr)

Dû aux événements récents sur Facebook, notre idée de la confidentialité en ligne est remise en question.  Malgré le fait que Facebook continue à démentir les rumeurs, plusieurs internautes exigent que les messages privés soient  rendus publics. Que les allégations soient vraies ou fausses, c’est peut être le moment de considérer de plus près ce qu’on partage en ligne.

Selon quelques experts, le lancement récent de Timeline en France est à l’origine du bug allégué. Metro France, qui a publié la nouvelle en premier,  a rapporté que les messages privés datant de 2007, 2008 et 2009 apparaissaient directement sur la Timeline des utilisateurs. Encore pire, bien que vous pouvez supprimer les messages sur votre profil Facebook, les messages restent toujours sur les Timelines d’autres participants.

Chaque mois, on compte 71 millions de mises à jour de statut, 103 millions de postes publiés sur les murs des membres et 734 millions de messages envoyés sur Facebook en France.  Ces chiffres montrent le rôle toujours croissant de Facebook en tant que moyen de communication. Mais si notre confidentialité ne peut pas être assurée à 100%, qu’est-ce qu’on peut faire pour garder une vie privée sur Facebook ?

Pour conserver votre vie privée en ligne, voici quelques conseils : n’utiliser pas d’application mobile ; avant de vous connecter, supprimer vos cookies ; déconnecter après chaque utilisation et finalement configurer vos paramètres de confidentialité au plus strict et vérifier qu’ils le restent.

Bien entendu, on ne peut pas assurer votre confidentialité en ligne à 100% – sauf si vous ne partagez aucune information privée sur les réseaux sociaux, même les messages privés !

Qu’en pensez-vous? Est-ce vous vous méfiez des réseaux sociaux?

Social Media privacy: So who exactly can see my personal information?

Since the birth of social media sites such as Facebook, parents have internationally spent many an hour worrying about what exactly strangers can see on their children’s profiles. Today, however, social media privacy is not just a worry for anxious parents. Recent privacy breaches and ever-changing social media privacy laws have brought privacy on such sites to media attention of late. According to a recent survey, a staggering 50% of social media users report to have had problems concerning privacy. It is clear to anyone paying the smallest amount of attention that the popularity and growth of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn show no signs of slowing. With consumers sharing a growing volume of increasingly varied content, there is a growing awareness of the need for stricter rules concerning privacy. So what can you – as a user – do to keep your information private?

I was extremely shocked recently when I read about a new smart phone application (developed in Russia) called “Girls Around Me”. Combining details made public by Facebook, Foursquare and Google Maps, the app (targeting young men) plots a map of attractive girls currently in the area surrounding the user. For an application to be exposing the whereabouts of individuals (while they have no idea whatsoever) just seems completely wrong. But is it really? Millions of people around the world regularly make use of social media, but 68% of American users say that they don’t understand what information they are sharing or who they are sharing it with. You could argue that if social media users are willing to share their personal data without ensuring that they completely understand privacy settings, then more fool them. Yes, all networks do offer default security settings, but in general these are fairly loose. They will not – for example – protect photos that you have been tagged in if a recruiter searches your Facebook profile. Many users are in fact surprised by just how little information is protected by the default settings. There is nearly always an option to customize privacy settings, enabling users to limit who can see what. Job seekers in particular would be wise to look into customizing their settings if they don’t want their next interviewer to see those photos.

We have all heard that hiring managers may well search our social media profiles before an interview to see what extra information they can find. It surprises me just how many avid social media users I have heard pondering over what exactly a recruiter or potential boss could see. Fully aware of the consequences, many of us still do not check what we are sharing with others, or take two minutes to adjust our privacy settings. It is clear that there is a real need for users to educate themselves on exactly what they are sharing through their use of social media. Did you know, for example, that every time you click “I agree “ to use a new Facebook application, you are agreeing to a new set of rules on sharing your information. Sure, nobody ever reads Terms and Conditions, but perhaps it is worthwhile taking the time to delete apps you don’t use and to look into the privacy settings of those you find useful. This may make you think twice about which applications you really need.

Given the nature of the information shared, Facebook is usually the network causing the most concern regarding privacy. The undeniable growth of social media motivates us to share more and more information. “Check-ins” on location-based services are a more recent addition to social media. As the “Girls Around You” example clearly illustrates, users should be very wary when using such applications. Countless stories in the news of youngsters mistakenly advertising the address of parties they are hosting to thousands of strangers perfectly illustrate the need for care. In an ideal world, it is best just not to use location-based services. Being quite this strict however does put restrictions on your use of social media.

So to really be safe, users can set up specific email accounts to use for social media (to avoid directing any spam brought about by social media to your main email account). Furthermore, it is advisable to make passwords as strong as possible (with numbers and letters, upper and lower case, no memorable names or dates…) and to change them regularly. To go even further, those really concerned about social media privacy could simply share less. If you don’t want the world to see a picture, don’t post it. If you’re not sure about the privacy settings of an application, then don’t use it. Simple! Such a strict approach however is easier said than done.  If you follow all the advice out there, your profile will be well protected, but probably not nearly as much fun. Really making the most of today’s social media experience necessitates a certain lack of privacy. Yes, it’s unwise to share your details through location-based apps, but how many avid social media users are honestly going to pass up the opportunity to take part in social media’s latest trend? It’s up to the individual to weigh up their own priorities and to decide what they value most highly; their social media freedom, or their privacy.

The LinkedIn mistakes that you need to avoid.

In a job search – perhaps even more than in private life – it is close to impossible to avoid social media. We all know by now that sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are invaluable job search tools. Whether you share your details or not, it is safe to assume that your interviewer will google you at some point in the interview process, if they don’t go straight to LinkedIn and look up your profile directly! These are both easy ways for potential employers to use your online professional presence to get a feel for you as a person before they even meet you. For this reason, it is vital that you keep all social media accounts relevant, professional and up-to-date. As arguably the most valuable of all such tools, keeping your LinkedIn profile up to scratch is absolutely vital.

As is the case for all types of social media, LinkedIn is a tool to enable interaction; be it making new connections, developing existing professional relationships, or discussing content. In signing up for a LinkedIn account, users are stating that they want to make new connections and get noticed. This won’t happen if you lay low and just wait for the right person to stumble across your profile. LinkedIn Groups allow users to form communities based around a particular centre of interest; sharing and discussing content. This is an easy way to make connections and get noticed for your knowledge and opinions – and isn’t that exactly what we all want potential employers to notice? So post content and ask questions that you think might interest others to generate discussion. Make sure to show that you’re active too; reply to comments sent to you and let others know when they’ve made an interesting point!

As is human nature in many day-to-day situations, many LinkedIn users tend to hang back to see what others are doing before putting themselves out there and engaging in discussion. While this is wasting a valuable tool, it is also unadvisable to go too far and interact too much. LinkedIn allows users to link tweets to the site – in other words showing everything you write on Twitter to your LinkedIn connections too. While this might seem like a great way to step up interaction, it is a risky choice to make. LinkedIn and Twitter serve very different purposes and while Twitter can also be used as a valuable job search tool, many of us post more personal content on Twitter. Is that really relevant to show to connections you are making to further your job search? Instead, choose to link just relevant, selected tweets to your profile.

It is also important to avoid over-selling yourself. So you’ve sought out a connection, great. Wait a while before bombarding them with messages, queries and requests for help. Better still; see if they will contact you. While it is definitely unwise to sit back and wait for things to happen to you, you don’t want to put all your new connections off before they’ve even had a chance to look at your profile! Have patience, but do get in touch after a while if it’s suitable.

Your LinkedIn profile is a virtual representation of you – the only impression others can get without actually meeting you! While it may seem obvious, many users ignore just how important it is to ensure their profile is complete. An incomplete profile will make you come across as sloppy and unprofessional. We have all heard that profile photos are important, but countless users nevertheless ignore this completely. The eye is first drawn to the space usually taken up by a photo, so a lack thereof is noticed straight away, perhaps also suggesting a lack of attention to detail.

A complete profile gives you the best possible chance to come up in searches, optimising your chances of the right people finding your profile and developing the right connections. Another tool offered by LinkedIn that many of us refrain from using is recommendations. You can leave a recommendation for a past colleague, which will usually prompt them to leave one for you. Just like a review for a book or film, LinkedIn recommendations encourage others to believe in your profile.

Finally, many users are unaware that Linkedin offers personalised URLs. This means that your whole name or keywords describing your profession can come up at the end of your URL rather than the jumble of letters and numbers that are generated automatically. Not only does this personalisation look more professional, it also helps your profile’s SEO (helping your profile feature highly in searches). This change can be made through a quick adjustment in your account settings, so there’s no excuse not to! Key words are enormously helpful for your SEO, but not just in your URL. They are also useful in descriptions of what you’re looking for and previous work experience.

LinkedIn is undoubtedly a fantastic job search tool. Pro-activity will ensure that you get noticed by others for your interests and opinions and a complete profile will help you come up in searches. With just a little time and attention, your profile will be optimised to support your job search.

Good Luck!

The Google+ revamp: Was design the problem anyway?

In the relatively short time since its launch last year, Google+ has built up a staggering following, which now stands at 170 million. This is an incredibly impressive growth rate and one which wholly reflects Google’s intentions for its flagship social media platform; to rival the giant in the field – Facebook. Despite its increasing popularity however, Google+ has been largely criticised since its launch, with user experience experts claiming that the network is clunky, poorly designed and difficult to navigate.

Perhaps it was such criticism that led Google to unveil an updated design of Google+ last week. The aim of the new design was to create “a simpler, more beautiful Google”, in keeping with the design of Google’s other services, creating a seamless Google experience. The main change brought about by the new design is increased potential for customisation. So what exactly did they change?

Design

Well the new Google+ follows another social media redesign fairly closely; that is of course Facebook’s timeline, which was introduced late last year. Although timeline has also received its share of criticism, some elements are immensely popular. Namely, the cover photo and larger photos on profiles. The $1 billion sale of Instagram to Facebook last week shows just how highly photos are valued these days by Facebook and its users (more on that later). It is a smart move therefore that Google have echoed the cover photo and pictures in their new design. Increased white spaces and greater focus on images make Google+ both modern and personal. Another feature is hidden icons, which show up when the cursor hovers over them, de-cluttering the layout.

Customisation

Another new addition is the navigation ribbon on the left hand side of the page. Icons such as “Home”, “Profile”, “Photos”, Hangouts” and “Games” can be rearranged by dragging and dropping according to the user’s preferences. The new design aims to increase its appeal in this way, by facilitating greater variation on the site. Further customization is also available in apps, which users can tailor to suit their needs.

Interaction

A small part of the increased white space on Google+ is allocated to an “explore” section. Not unlike Twitter, Google now shows users current trends. This section also includes a list of people “You may know” and things “You might like”, increasing scope for links and connections throughout the site.

Feedback on Google’s new layout sprung up all over the web in a matter of days. Many people feel that it makes good use of real estate and even say that it’s better looking than Facebook. However there are as ever those who disagree. Some think that good as Google’s efforts may be, it’s simply too late in the day for it to catch up with Facebook. The new design also most definitely misses a trick. Mobile is no longer the future, but is sharing a very substantial part of the present as far as internet time – and social media in particular – are concerned. The fact that Google haven’t even updated the mobile version of the service therefore is nothing less than short-sighted.

The increased white space on Google+ has also come under fire.  What Google intended to be refreshing and in keeping with the design of their other features has been widely criticized as a waste of space and a poorly thought out design. Social media critics have even gone as far as to mock the white space, with “#whitespace” trending on Twitter and a meme suggesting uses for this space becoming increasingly popular.

Such criticism of a seemingly well thought out re-design begs the question; was Google+’s problem really design in the first place?

Well opinions on Google+ have been split since the very beginning, but never to the extent that people don’t try it. We can tell just by looking at its insane growth rate that the problem for Google+ was never one of attracting new members. Some say that it’s less to do with Google+ itself and more to do with the social media market. Do we really need a new social network? Well the recent market value of Instagram alone shows that some new networks are starting up just fine! Content isn’t a problem either – thanks to the clear link to a pretty successful search engine, the Google “+1” button is popping up all over the place and is getting used, more in fact than any other social network promotion device.

So that leaves design. Just analysing the visual appearance of course misses out a vital aspect of design, one that Google engineers are very conscious of; their attention to coding is impeccable. We all know that Google have huge control of the internet and they know exactly how to code a site. Google+ is no exception and its speed is impressive. This, however is not the sort of design that appeals to the masses, who are unlikely to notice that they can post a fraction of a second faster on Google+ than they could on Facebook. In this day and age, it is appearance (online, at least!) that is vital. With smart phones, tablets, Instagram and so on, we take photos of anything and everything, making even the mundane look beautiful. So perhaps Google has just gone too far with the simplified design of its flagship.

It seems that there are simply too many factors at play to attribute problems for Google+ to design alone. Criticism is rife every time Facebook adapts its design, but that doesn’t deter users. Perhaps we are just expecting too much too fast from the huge name that is Google. After all, it really is only a matter of months since the launch, which isn’t at all long for a network aiming for such a broad appeal. Facebook was not built in a day, after all. Keep at it, Google, you’ve a way to go yet!