Along with the traditional resume, a well-written cover letter, and an impressive handshake, social media is an absolutely crucial component to a productive and successful job search.
In today’s job market, your online presence should amount to more than an email address and a photo of you flipping burgers at a backyard barbecue, since recruiters in ever-growing numbers are using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to source applicants for specific jobs and post employment opportunities.
So what are some ways you can effectively use social media in your job search?
Here are just six to consider.
For now and for the foreseeable future, LinkedIn, sometimes referred to as “Facebook with a tie,” is the most popular social networking site for job seekers and recruiters alike. Even if you’re employed, creating and maintaining a solid LinkedIn profile can help you stay abreast of developments in your industry and expand your professional network. While LinkedIn is the No. 1 choice for recruiters seeking potential job candidates and building a company’s brand, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter continue to develop useful tools for professionals looking for work.
Make sure your profile as it appears on various social networking sites is up to date. Doing so can be a time consuming task, especially if you maintain two or more profiles. But a potential employer will respond more favorably to a profile that is not only up to date but shows some kind of consistent activity. Consider using one of the many free or inexpensive online tools to update all of your profiles and websites at the same time. If you have a profile or blog that’s just sitting there, delete it.
“Privacy” and Facebook are two words never meant to be spoken in the same sentence. You’re probably savvy enough to know that posting photos of yourself wasted at your freshman year beer blast is a no-no when it comes to using social media to find professional work. Determine and stick to some clear boundaries when it comes to what you share and where you share. Regularly check the privacy settings of any social platform you use, especially Facebook’s (which can be confusing), in order to maintain control of who can and can’t see your profile or profiles.
LinkedIn offers its users the option of joining or creating their own groups to facilitate conversation among like-minded professionals. The groups can be open or by invitation only and are a great way to connect to people in your chosen industry. Just remember that whatever you post is like a tattoo: it’s never going to completely go away. Take care that your comments are civil and, most importantly, helpful to the members of your group.
When it comes to social media, you may want to just play it straight, posting information about yourself and news about your industry, without editorializing or creating additional “dynamic” content. But for those in creative fields, including graphic design, fashion, and public relations (to name just a few), there are free online tools and platforms that allow you to build visually stimulating and yes, dynamic resumes designed to tout you and your unique talents. Check out prezi.com for cloud-based presentation software that allows users to create animated resumes that spell out the multiplicity of your skills and interests.
If you choose to avoid real-world social interaction and instead spend the majority of your time on social media websites posting updates and interacting with other users, you will eventually run out of interesting news to share with your network. When it comes to your job search, never forget the power of a face-to-face meeting or handing someone your business card. Potential employers want to know you have a life outside the virtual realm, so take time to pound the pavement and press the flesh. You can always tweet about it later. #thanksforreading #hopethisishelpful
This article was first posted on ODP.com.