5 Smart Ways to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Along with the traditional resume and a well-written cover letter, social media is a key player in a productive and successful job search. In today’s market, your online presence should amount to be more than a photo of you, an email address and your title, since recruiters increasingly use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to source applicants for specific jobs and post-employment opportunities. So what are some way you can effectively use social media in your job search? Here are just five to consider.

#1: Create an online presence

If you are looking for a new job it is important that you maintain a social media presence on these top social and professional networking sites: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. But posting a profile and completing the minimum required fields is not enough. You have to be an active participant with relevant, accurate and current information about yourself. Even if you are not actively looking for a job at the moment, an online presence will make you visible to employers who are scanning social networking sites, particularly, LinkedIn, to look for candidates who could possibly be interested in a job down the road.

#2: Clean Up Your Digital Footprint

Your resume, cover letter and interview aren’t the only factors your potential employer takes into consideration when it comes to the hiring process. Today, your online reputation is just as important as your offline one.  Inappropriate photos, offensive comments or evidence of excessive drinking can make or break your chance of getting a job offer. Likewise, poor communication skills, making smug remarks about former employers and lying about your qualifications will quickly destroy your candidacy.

These “footprints” can come from a variety of sources, including social media, blog posts, email correspondences, videos or images, or any other digital information available online.

#3: Manage your private settings

It’s a good idea to monitor your privacy settings but don’t  be too restrictive. Remember the idea behind social media is to encourage networking and social sharing of information. You don’t want to make it too difficult for an employer to locate information about you, otherwise, they will give up and decide to hire someone else who seems more up-to-date with technology.

#4: Reach out to your network

Your network reveals more opportunities and more possibilities. Social and professional networking sites offer a centralized platform for re-invigorating your relationships and engaging new connections and new networks.Connect with the intention of building relationships:

Be authentic. In any job search or networking situation, be yourself and be honest. Hiding who you are or your interests will hurt you in the long run.

Be considerate. If you’re reconnecting with an old friend or colleague, take the time to catch up before you jump into your request. On the other hand, if this person is a new connection you don’t know well, be respectful of his or her time and be direct.

Ask for advice, not a job. Don’t ask for a job upon request. Your network is a resource in your job search; you want to connect to build allies in your job search, not make them feel ambushed. Engage with them to acquire information or insight. If they’re able to hire you or refer you to someone who can, they will. If not, keep the relationship warm for future considerations.

Cultivate a network of quality not quantity. Accumulating new contacts can be beneficial but only if you have time to nurture the relationships. One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make when building a professional network is cultivating numerous shallow, superficial contacts and neglecting to develop long-lasting, deep relationships with select groups of individuals. Remember, at its core, networking is learning about, and from, other individuals and utilizing this knowledge to grow professionally and personally. Adopt this mindset as you build your network, execute accordingly and you will build a solid and diverse group of professionals who will be a valuable resource in your career.

#5: Demonstrate your expertise

Your posts, status updates and Tweets are platforms for you to curate knowledge on a specific subject and demonstrate your expertise. Share links to relevant articles, infographics and/or white papers. Start a blog to build your own personal brand, showcase your knowledge and grow your network. Attend related conferences and events, and post takeaways. Employers and professionals who see your breadth of knowledge will see your passion and commitment in this area.

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