How to Use Quora to Advance Your Career

Participating on Q&A sites can help you develop your online presence and share your expertise.

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Heather R. Huhman
Quora has recently emerged as a helpful resource for your job search and career. Although Q&A websites have existed for some time now (think Yahoo! Answers or Formspring), people are flocking to Quora because of the social aspect of the site—not just the answers.

With so many professionals and thought leaders participating on the social Q&A site, it can certainly be another tool to develop your online presence and share your expertise in your industry.

Get started on Quora by creating an account and doing the following:

1. Complete your biography and information: People want to know why your opinion matters and why they should follow you, especially if you’re answering questions. Tell them about your interests, skills, expertise, and job title (or that you’re seeking a job in a certain field if you’re unemployed). Share any interesting tidbits that may give them a deeper look into who you are.

[See 10 Ways to Use Social Media In Your Job Search.]

2. Connect with your network: If you sign up through an existing social networking account, Quora will automatically find people you follow or are connected with who are on the site. You can also search your email contacts for friends, and follow people while browsing questions and answers on the site.

3. Follow topics of interest: Search for topics you’d like to stay updated about and click “Follow topic.”

4. Follow individuals of interest: Quora is an optimal way to follow thought leaders and interesting individuals, get candid advice, and hear personal stories through people’s answers.

5. Chime in: Although you can learn a lot through reading other’s activity, don’t be afraid to jump in with an opinion or piece of information when you can. You can choose to answer questions or comment on others answers, depending upon the thread and what you’re contributing.

[See 11 New Websites for Your Career Search.]

6. Tag your questions: To receive quality responses to your questions—or a response at all, if you don’t have many followers—tag your questions with the appropriate topic(s) to help others find them.

7. Vote: When reading answers to questions in your area of expertise, vote up the answer that you think is the best response for the question at hand. Your name will appear next to the voting buttons when you vote—and may catch the attention of the person who answered.

8. Ask questions to create a dialogue with others: Much like when networking, asking strategic questions on Q&A sites can help you start a dialogue with thought leaders and industry influencers about specific topics. For example, if you’re job searching, ask about how you should leverage your professional network to find opportunities or which companies are the best to work for in a particular area.

[See Is it Time to Go Back to School?]

9. Follow hiring managers, recruiters, and company executives: Many of these people are already active on social Q&A sites. Follow their activity to connect with these individuals. Find them through company or industry mentions and by browsing the trending topics and people entries on the home page.

Are you active on Quora or other Q&A sites? How have they helped your job search and/or career?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.