Tips for Using Google+ for Networking and Job Searching
Google+ is Google's social networking site and it's a tool that can be used for both career networking and for job searching, as well as for personal networking. Here's how to use it.
Your Google+ Profile
To get started on Google+ you will create a profile. It will include a photo, so be sure to use a professional photo if you're using Google+ for professional networking. In addition, you can include your educational background and your employment history.
In the About section you can see your own profile picture, and change it at any time, as well as your employment and education information. The Photos section includes albums of photos from posts, profile photos, as well as any other albums you set up for your account.
Do be sure to fill out your profile as completely as possible when you're using Google+ for career-related purposes. Add links to your other profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, your blog, if you have one) so a recruiter or hiring manager can view the other accounts you're using for professional networking, as well.
One reason Google+ is so effective for professional networking is that it's easy to connect and to separate your professional contacts from your personal contacts.
You can search for Google+ users to add to your circles. The main page of the Circles section also has a Suggestions section, where users can instantly add people they may know.
When you're working, or interested in working, in a specific career field or industry, adding contacts from within that industry is a good way to stay on top of industry news and to network with people in the field.
All you need to do is keep you professional contacts in different circles (how you organize your contacts) than your friends and family.
When you connect with someone, you can add the person to one of your circles - either one of the Google+ circles that are available when you join (friends, family, etc.) or you can create a new circle. For example, you could add circles for co-workers, professional connections, and people in your industry that you're interested in sharing information with and receiving information from. You can decide what information in your profile is visible to each of your circles.
By organizing your contacts into strategic groups, users can view all updates from a specific circle in one place.
When you post and share information, you can choose who gets to see it - you can choose to make information public (which means everyone can see it), or you can choose to share the information with only certain circles. You can also share information with “extended circles,” which includes all the people in your connections’ circles. For more specific or private information, you can select individual people with whom to share information.
In addition, you can view the streams (the feed from your circles) for each of your circles separately simply by clicking which streams you want to see, so, again personal and professional are easily and nicely separated.
Google+ Hangouts lets users start chat sessions with one or more contacts from their circles. You can send photos through hangouts, and even have group video calls with your circles. Hangouts work on Google+, Gmail, Apple products, and smartphones.
How to Use the Google+ Mobile App
The Google+ mobile app allows Google+ users to keep current with their Google+ social network on the go.
The main page of the mobile app displays notifications (for example, if you've been added to one of another person's circles) in the top right corner of the screen. Selecting Notifications pulls up a list of your notifications.
The Stream, located on your home page, displays updates from your circles. If you only want to see updates from a specific circle, you can click the "All Circles" tab at the top of your main page, and then select a specific circle whose updates you want to see.
You can also select "What's Hot" to see what posts are trending, or you can select "Nearby" to see updates from people who are in close proximity to you, but might not be in your circles (you can only use this tool if you inform Google of your specific location).
Users can also post status updates from the Stream, choosing which circles to broadcast to and whether or not to include a photo and location. This makes it easy to separate what status updates are visible to which circles, so that personal and professional relationships are differentiated. Users can also check in at local businesses from the Stream page.
The Profile page (which you access by clicking on your profile photo in the top left hand dropdown menu) takes a user to his or her own profile. Clicking on the Profile page initially lands you in the Posts section, which consists of any status updates, check-ins, and shared links or photos. In the About section users can see their own profile picture as well as employment, education, and personal information. The Photos section includes albums of photos from posts, profile photos, as well as any other albums users set up for their accounts.
The bottom of the People page includes a list of all your contacts sorted by circle. When you click on a circle, a list of all the people in that circle appears. Next to each person's name is a thumbnail photo and a number signifying the number of your circles they belong to. Clicking on a contact brings up his or her profile page, which consists of the same information as a user's own profile page - Posts, About, and Photos.
Within each circle you can also search for circle members by name in a search bar at the top of the screen.
The main page of the People section also has a "Suggestions" section where you can instantly add people you may know. There are other sections titled "Interesting People" and "Gmail Contacts" to help you find other people to add to your circle. A "Find Coworkers" section helps you find coworkers by typing in your company name and years of employment, and "Find Classmates" allows you to search for people by the name of your school and the years you attended. There is also a search icon at the top of the Circles section, where users can look for new contacts to add to their circles.
The Photos section divides photos into highlights, all photos, all albums, and photos of a user. You can also choose to display whatever photos are already on your mobile device. Clicking on the pictures from a mobile device allows a user to quickly share a photograph taken on the device with specific circles or with everybody. This option is always listed in the top right corner of the screen, so you can easily decide which photos are appropriate to be shared with which audiences.
There is also an option to take a photo with the camera icon in the lower left corner of the homepage screen. After a photo is taken, users can edit the photo, and then choose with whom to share the photo.
Users can also choose to join Google communities. There are numerous communities that focus on topics such as types of professional industries and hobbies. Click on "Communities" in the dropdown menu on the top left corner of the screen. You can search for a community by name in the search bar, or by category. Once you join a community, you can post and add photos to the community's website.
You can use the Google+ mobile app to create events. Click on "Events" in the dropdown menu on the top left corner of the screen. Fill in information about the event and its location, and then invite specific people, or entire circles.
Google+ Hangouts on Mobile
To use Google Hangouts, you have to download a separate Google Hangouts mobile app. Once you download the app, you can begin hangout sessions with one or more contacts. You can add email addresses, Google+ contacts, and whole circles to the session and then edit from there. For example, a user could add his or her entire 'Work' circle to a hangout to have a group conversation and then add other contacts or delete ones who are in the circle but don't need to be involved in that particular conversation. This makes it easy to have group conversations include most of a circle without having to include every individual in a circle.
You and other members of the hangout can add photos or emoji to any conversation. You can even start a video conversation with up to 10 friends at a time.