Social Media can be one of your best tools in a job search but it can also be your worst enemy, sucking away all your time into the great wide expanse of virtual living and diminishing your privacy at every turn. Here are a few sites and Dos and Don’ts to consider before you get on the social media bandwagon:

LinkedIn

Do: Create a LinkedIn Profile and keep it up-to-date. Ask your stakeholders and business partners to write short references for you and offer to do the same for others you respect.

Do: Network with your LinkedIn group for suggestions on topics and growing businesses to explore and ask for contacts.

Don’t: Use LinkedIn as a way just to rack up names and numbers of people you don’t know and send out some huge blast of resumes and/or other requests for help with people who have never heard from you.

Do: Publish relevant posts that pertain to your industry. Showcase yourself as a thought leader in your space and share your findings and thoughts with your colleagues.

Facebook/Instagram/Snap Chat

Do: Clean up your “social sharing” pages, making sure they are free from any pictures, comments, and/or other dubious material that a prospective employer may see if they get access to your profile/page that would reflect poorly on you.

Do: Use Facebook to keep up with friends, family, customers, and past co-workers that you trust and feel free to reach out to them personally for networking help.

Don’t: Post on Facebook or any other site that you are looking for a job if you are currently employed.

Do: Learn how to manage your privacy settings. Making sure all of your social accounts are visible to friends only will help you separate your private life from your professional one.

Twitter

We’re on it, but I think it has limited play for individuals looking and/or networking for work. Use the same advice as above and…

Don’t: Tweet something every few minutes, particularly what you are eating or what your child is doing. Most of us don’t need or want the minute to minute play on your life and it certainly won’t help you in your job search.

Do: Use this as a resource to keep up with the companies you’d be interested in working for. Keep up with the major players in your industry to ensure that you stay relevant and current.

YouTube & Blogging

These can be great tools, particularly if you are in a creative field, write well, or look great on camera.

Do: Create a short, relevant video of your work, if it plays well visually, and make sure your contact information is visible.

Do: Blog about relevant topics in your line of work, opinions on the future, etc…. and feel free to share the personal side of yourself—within professional limits.

Don’t: Publish anything that can be construed as confidential to your current or past employer that can get you sued or fired.

There are many specialized social networking and multimedia sites where you can create podcasts, video resumes, presentation sharing, etc… that may all have some relevance to your job search that can be explored. But keep this in mind: Once it is on the internet it is no longer private, it never really goes away, and it is discoverable in a court of law.

Use common sense incorporating social media into your job search and do not lose sight that people still hire people they have great relationships with—and that is always done better in person or over the phone.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask here.

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