Job seeking today feels much more complicated than it did in years past. In addition to your resume, cover letter, and business suit, you have a new layer to consider every time you go on the hunt for a new role: your social media presence.
We don’t always think of social media as part of the job search, but it can be very helpful for you as a job seeker.
The Job Hunt Dinner Party
Participating in social media as a job seeker can be a positive thing. If there’s more than one person out there with your name, joining the social media world allows you to take ownership over your personal brand. If you’re wondering where to begin, start with LinkedIn, and then work up to other sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Job seeking is a lot like attending a dinner party. When you’re thinking of what to post on your social media accounts, keep this in mind. If you want to share your religious beliefs, political views, or other potentially controversial thoughts, ensure that the privacy settings on your profiles are locked tight.
But with LinkedIn, it’s best to keep things as open as you can. It’s a great idea to allow a potential employer to learn as much about you as possible via your LinkedIn page. Be sure to include an updated profile photo, current employment information, and your email address. Make it easy for recruiters to find you by including keywords in your profile that are relevant to your career.
Make time to interact with friends and colleagues on social media so that you become part of their online ecosystems. Sites like LinkedIn can be great places to share your latest accomplishments and awards. In today’s competitive market, it’s good to try to remain top of mind. You never know who may be hiring.
Searching Via Social
Beyond simply creating a presence for yourself, social media can actually help in your search. First, it’s a great place to research what people are saying about your potential employer. Do the company’s employees and customers love it or hate it?
Social media is also a great way to research your hiring manager and the other people who will be interviewing you. If you’ve had a hard time getting the attention of the hiring manager through the traditional online application process, social media may be an option to try. It has to be done carefully, but it is surprising how often a C-level executive is willing to engage with positive comments online.
I have even heard of applicants tweeting videos to companies. In these videos, the applicants give their elevator pitches and ask to be considered for certain roles. It’s important to be cautious with such public displays when you currently have a full-time job, but it’s an interesting strategy to consider.
The degree to which you use social media in your job search is completely up to you. But, whatever you do, make sure you use it to brand yourself in a positive light, rather than mire yourself in the latest controversy.
A version of this article originally appeared on The Memphis Daily News.