The best way to use social media when job hunting

Peter Botting
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Job hunting without social media is becoming is no longer an option for two reasons. First of all, a huge percentage of jobs are not advertised and are filled by people who know people.

Moan about it - or get in the game. Secondly, if you apply for a job, your social media presence will be checked. If you don't have one, that will raise questions and may well exclude you from the short list. An inappropriate or badly maintained social media presence will work against you too.

Social media allows you to connect with professionals and colleagues, enables you to develop a personal brand, helps you be seen and can open up new career opportunities - even if you are not actually looking for a job right now! Some of my clients are people who have been with the same company for years and their social media presence is either non-existent, out of date or unhelpful.

Creating a strong social media presence is easier said than done. For a novice the thought of diving into the infinite world of Facebook (too personal), Twitter (what and how often), LinkedIn (will my boss think I am looking), Google+ (How), YouTube (really), Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr, Vimeo, and Reddit (why and how to all of them) is daunting.

Social media is not static! Having a profile is not enough. Social media, especially when you are using it for job hunting, takes time and effort. You need to be updating, posting, commenting, liking, connecting, and engaging on a regular basis.

1.Reconnect with old contacts

Set aside some time to find old colleagues, bosses, school mates and friends on social media. The potential opportunities that reconnecting with old contacts can create are impressive. You never know what an old co-worker or friend from university may be able to offer you. Don't stalk them though - they don't want to be hit on, and you should keep your dignity, no matter how desperate you are!

2.Hobbies and interests

A successful social media profile should show hobbies and interests. A potential employer is looking for human candidates - not two-dimensional creatures who are nothing beyond a CV. Employers are not just trying to find something embarrassing or incriminating, but they are trying to find something interesting about a candidate - something that separates you from the rest. Personality counts! You may also share an interest with your future boss - you can't rely on this getting you the job - but it can be a gift!


You have to ensure your social media profiles are free of typos and that you use a professional looking photograph for your LinkedIn profile. Clean up your Facebook profile - if in doubt delete or make private. And yes - you do have to go back 3-4 years. Your private life affects your work life - they will want to know as much as they can about you. The bigger the job - the deeper they will look.

4.Not just LinkedIn

An employer won't just look at a candidate's LinkedIn profile. They will also check your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Check your social media behaviour when watching sport, out with friends or having a drink. Those pictures and all those hilarious comments may cost you your next job or promotion. Clean it up or sort out your privacy settings.

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