As social media networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook continue to grow, their use in the professional world increases as well. According to Jobvite, 94% of recruiters are actively using social media sites to find potential job candidates. For companies, finding potential job candidates using social media is fast, low-cost and maximizes the pool of potential candidates. The flexibility of social media also allows employers to quickly target a specific field or experience level.

social-media-2Knowing that 94% of recruiters are actively searching for candidates on social media networking sites, it is more important today than ever for job seekers to have a positive, active presence on social media.

When discussing this topic with individuals in a job search, I’ve found that a lot of people are very resistant. Generally I hear that it feels like an invasion of privacy, it takes too much time out of the day to update or that there are just too many sites to choose from. For those who do shy away from any social media use, here are a few quick tips that I find really helpful:

  1. Paint a good picture of yourself: The easy access of social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook can give anyone with an account and Internet access a quick snapshot of your life. While that seems like a breach of privacy, there are many benefits to it. By reviewing your profiles, potential employers can have insight into your ability to communicate, your work history, your industry knowledge and even a little bit about your personality and how you like to spend your time. When considering privacy, keep in mind that other social media users only see what you choose to share online. This is a perfect opportunity to display your expertise and professionalism for potential employers but also bear in mind that this can quickly work against you. A small, questionable post or picture can detract potential employers. If you already have a social media account on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, go over it with a fine-toothed comb and remove anything that you deem questionable. A good rule of thumb is to remove anything that you would not say or do at work.
  2. Be active: Having a complete profile on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter is just the first step. Actively engaging your networking by posting blogs, commenting on articles and driving virtual conversations will further promote your personal brand. After consistent messaging, you will be seen as a thought leader in your field. Retweet and share posts or stories that you find interesting or beneficial to other leaders in your field. Reposting, commenting and sharing posts doesn’t have to take your entire day. Schedule a few reminders throughout your day to check your social media profiles for 5-10 minutes at a time.
  3. It’s not ALL about LinkedIn: Yes I said it! LinkedIn is important when considering your professional, online presence but keep in mind that other sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, can be important too. Nearly all major organizations have a profile on one or more of these platforms. By following companies and industries that you are interested in, you can use these outlets to research your target companies and gain industry knowledge. This makes it easier to know when organizations are restructuring, hiring or evolving. Being on the front lines of their social media updates can help connect you with the right people and give you valuable company knowledge for when it comes time for an interview.  While the thought of having an active profile on numerous sites seems stressful and time consuming, it can easily be managed. Sites such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck can combine all of your online profiles together in one place. By using social media management tools such as these, you can manage multiple profiles in a fraction of the time.

When used properly, social media use can be effective and valuable for those in a job search. What are a few ways that you have effectively used social media?

Courtney Farris combines her passion for learning what makes people tick with her unique experience in business management to create operational efficiencies that fit each client’s organizational personality for OI Global Partners – Innovative Career Consulting.

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