Social media isn’t only about sharing family vacation photos and keeping in touch with old friends, it’s also an important tool in a job search. That is, if you use it right.
Social media has increasingly become a stomping ground for recruiters, which means job seekers have to make the right impression in the digital world.
According to a survey conducted by social recruiting company JobVite, 94% of surveyed recruiters say they use social media to find job candidates. A hefty 93% report they use LinkedIn to not only search for candidates, but to keep tabs on them during the hiring process. Eighteen percent use Twitter and 25% use Facebook to vet candidates after the interview process.
“In today’s job market, it’s incredibly important for job seekers to incorporate social media into their job-search strategy,” says Amanda Augustine from career website TheLadders. “Not only will this help you uncover job leads you might not find elsewhere, but leveraging social media allows you to build up a credible, online professional brand that prospective employers are certain to look for.”
Whether you are in the middle of the hiring process or have just launched your search, here’s what career experts say you should do with your social media pages.
Always be Professional. If there are pictures on your social networking pages that you wouldn’t hang in an office, take them down, experts recommend.
To make sure you are making the right impression online, Julie Bauke, career strategist and president of The Bauke Group, recommends having a friend conduct an audit of your websites.
“Watch for patterns,” she says. “Never complain about your workplace, your boss, the job search process or the ‘idiots in HR who clearly don’t recognize great talent when they see it’ on any social networking site.”
Search Yourself. Often. Even if you aren’t an avid social media user, Augustine says it’s worth doing a Google search of your first and last name to see what shows up. Any outdated or non-professional profile pictures should be updated and any questionable posts should be removed.
She also suggests creating a Google alert for your name to help monitor your personal brand during your job search.
Amp Up Security. Augustine recommends increasing the security settings on your personal accounts so recruiters won’t be associated them your professional face.
“That way, employers will find the same professional online that they met face-to-face or read about in your application,” she says.
Get Your Wording Right. Because LinkedIn has become an integral part of the hiring process, it’s important that you use the right terminology in your posts that relate to your industry and job hunt.
Bauke recommends reviewing other industry professionals’ LinkedIn pages and borrow similar language for your own profile. The pages will also give you a sense of what key words to use and how to stand out. “Adopt the good that you see into your profile,” she says.
Social media has made it very easy to establish yourself as an expert and doing that on places like LinkedIn can keep you front and center in recruiters’ minds.
Bauke advises joining groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and other networks that are focused on your profession or industry. But it’s not enough to just sign up: Once you are part of those groups participate by sharing your knowledge or interesting links. “Look for online sites that focus on your profession or industry and offer to write a blog post or a series on a topic that you know a lot about,” she says. “Share the link on your LinkedIn profile, in LinkedIn groups and on Facebook and to your best contacts.”