The other day a client was asking me how to keep in touch with networking contacts after they’ve had that initial conversation. For me, this was an opportunity to talk about one of my favorite career tools: Google Alerts.
The tool is legendary for its use in the job search; tomes have been written about that… yet remains largely underutilized.
And I don’t get it! For building your network, building relationships and deepening expertise in your field: Google Alerts is an amazing career resource.
Google Alerts, in their simplest form, are free alerts you subscribe to that provide fresh content and updates on the topics you are most interested in. The updates are sent to your email Inbox, smartphone or services such as Google Reader.
Here are a dozen ways you can use Google Alerts to help you manage your career in the short term, and for the long run:
1. Manage Your Online Reputation
Set a Google Alert for yourself, as well as your Twitter handle and any side gigs, and see what news shows up about you online.
2. Learn About Your Organization
If you work for a large org now, you may not hear about everything that’s going on. When you see a media article, send it along to your colleagues, supervisors and mentors, perhaps with kudos for the mention or compliments on a well turned phrase.
3. Get Industry News
Stay abreast of what’s going on in your industry or area of expertise (be sure to set a Google Alert for keywords specific to your industry… this is networking gold).
4. Engage Your Network
Set alerts for key influencers in your network. When news appears about them, send them a quick note with a kind comment.
5. Engage Your Network, Part 2
As you are building relationships, make note of people’s interests, hobbies, or passions. Set alerts for those topics, send along quality articles along with your “thought about you when I read this” comments.
6. Improve Small Talk with Your Boss (or Colleagues)
Do you work in a sports crazy office but don’t know a football from a lacrosse stick? Set alerts for whatever the sports event of the month is. A quick read will help you with a witty retort when the sports chat is on. If your boss has a special interest, use alerts to give you small talk fodder during those one-on-one’s or business trips.
7. Learn About Clients
If you are in a client facing role, set alerts for client company so you know what’s happening and how/if it influences your strategy.
8. Monitor Competition
Find out what the other guys are doing; see their important announcements, newly forming products or partnerships and media mentions.
9. Follow Thought Leaders
Find those folks that inspire you with their words of wisdom… and have updates from them sent right to your Inbox.
10. Get Fresh Blog Content
Do you blog? Curate content to display your expertise and passion for a specific subject? Set alerts to bring you fresh content you can reference and comment.
11. Get Fresh Social Media Content
If you Tweet, Facebook, or G+, set alerts for articles and updates you’d like to include in your social media postings. Google Alerts can also provide great articles for posting on your LinkedIn profile and group discussions.
12. Grow Your Side Hustle
If you’re blogging or have a side biz, set alerts to help you mine content, blog, or otherwise grow your side biz. Google Alerts are perfect for the budding freelancer or consultant needing to show industry knowledge.
Take advantage of the best career tool you aren’t using… yet. Set up your Google Alerts. Start connecting, relating and sharing.
And please leave a note below and let me know how you’ve put Google Alerts to work for you!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!
About the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. She blogs at Degreesoftransition.com. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter, too.
(Pic via googleenterprise.blogspot.com)