3 Tips for Social Media and the Job Search

social media and the job searchSocial media sites can be helpful during your job search if you use them carefully

We have all heard stories of careless and inappropriate photos or posts that people have posted on Facebook or Twitter, resulting in losing a job or worse. But it’s not all bad! Social media can truly be a useful tool in your career development if you use it thoughtfully. Below are some tips for a job-seeker to consider when using social media and professional networking sites.

1. Create an account with LinkedIn or another professional networking site.

Professional networking sites can help you build a presence online that prospective employers and other colleagues can view. One of the most well-known professional networking sites is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to connect with other colleagues and find potential job opportunities in your career field. You can think of LinkedIn as an online resume, job board, and networking opportunity all rolled into one.

When you set up your profile, make it look professional. Make sure your photograph looks business-like. Include all of your relevant professional and educational experience. This is your chance to make an impression. As you create your profile, imagine that a prospective employer is using your profile to get their first impression of you and to study your credentials.

LinkedIn offers services such as:

  • Resume builder: This allows you to create an online resume and convert into a printable PDF version easily.
  • Job board: This allows you to search for opportunities by keyword and geographic location.
  • Endorsements: You can endorse the skills of a colleague, and as you get to know more people, your contacts may begin to endorse your skills too. This helps to boost the credibility of your online resume.
  • Email alerts: You can sign up for automatic emails to alert you when new job openings come up in your field.

2. Carefully review your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and other social media profiles.

  • Change your privacy settings so that only friends or approved followers can see your entire profile and personal photos (unless you are using your profile as a career/marketing tool).
  • Remove  any photos or videos that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see.
  • Remove any posts that you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to read.
  • Ask your friends not to tag you in any photos that could look bad to a prospective employer.
  • Change your username to something that sounds professional enough for a prospective employer to see.

3. Get involved professionally in online discussions.

  • See if there are active Facebook pages for the professional associations in your career field, and if so, join them.
  • Join in on the discussions. Post thoughtful questions or useful links. Show that you are serious about your career field.
  • Follow the Twitter feeds and Facebook posts of organizations or companies where you are hoping to find a job.
  • Follow the postings of professional colleagues that that you respect—you may be able to learn more about your field.
  • Share a positive attitude and avoid negativity. Compliment other people in your posts and tweets.
  • Endorse your colleagues on LinkedIn if you can vouch for their job skills. In time, they may endorse you too.
  • Remember to be social too. It’s not all about searching for a job. Being social is part of the networking process too!

We hope these tips are helpful to you as you search for a job. Remember, social media sites can be more than fun. Social media sites and professional networking sites can help you as you begin your new career, as long as you are careful to keep your online identity both professional and positive.