Social media is everywhere. And, believe it or not, you can actually use social media in your job search. If you are looking to upgrade your career, a strong social media presence can help. Not only that, but you can leverage your network to help you reach out to more potential employers.
As you prepare for a new year — and a new career path — don’t neglect social media. In fact, a number of companies use social media as part of their recruitment processes , and many employers will run a web search of your social media profiles before finalizing the job offer. So, as you build your resume and write a cover letter, don’t forget to use social media as part of the job hunt .
Consistency and Professionalism in Your Social Media Profiles
First of all, your social media profiles should be consistent and professional. While there’s nothing wrong with images and tweets showing a slightly restrained fun side, stay away from sharing information that puts you in a negative light, or that indicates that you might be engaging in questionable activities.
Also, be consistent in the way you portray yourself. A simliar avatar, username, and description of yourself will help potential employers easily identify you from profile to profile.
Use Keywords and Show Your Expertise
Social media profiles are increasingly searchable. Figure out which keywords describe job openings and career opportunities you are looking for. Use those keywords when describing yourself in your profile.
Additionally, you should share information related to your field, offering light commentary and showing that you keep up with the latest. Tweet interesting observations about your career field, and offer useful insights. Share information on LinkedIn and Facebook related to your career of interest. This will show that you are plugged in and keeping up with the industry.
Follow Key People and Leverage Your Network
If you are looking for a job with a specific company, follow a key person on Twitter. “Like” the company on Facebook. Occasionally make a relevant comment using those social media platforms to interact. You can work to build a relationship with someone in the company (and hopefully avoid being creepy). Eventually, you might even connect on LinkedIn.
You can also leverage your social media network to find job openings. Let the members of your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook communities know that you are looking for a job. You can also write a Facebook “note” that allows you to describe your situation, and your expertise, as well as what you are looking for. If you know that specific friends might be able to connect you with some of their connections, tag them in the note so that word will get around a little faster.
In some cases, who you know can really help. The people in your social media  network may have people in their own networks that are looking for just the right person for a position — and you might be that person. If you have laid the groundwork with a professional (or at least semi-professional) social media presence, and made use of keywords and efforts to show your expertise, you have a better chance of using social media to help you find a new job.
(Photo: TheSeafarer )