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How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Using social media in your job search has the advantage of personal connections. So if you'd rather apply for a job through a personal connection than make a cold call on a job board, review the following how-to nuggets for accomplishing your mission via social media.

Use LinkedIn to market yourself for your job search

Social media is a crucial component of the modern job search, says Joshua Waldman, author of the popular Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies, 2nd Edition. Here are some pointers for your LinkedIn profile that Waldman offers:

  • If you include a photo of yourself, make it a professional-quality headshot that shows you to best advantage.

  • Update your status at least once per week year-round, to seem more passionate about your career — and to avoid setting off alarm bells with your boss that you're seeking greener pastures.

  • Join and participate in at least three career-useful industry groups.

  • Get 10 or more recommendations, to ensure that you look like a top candidate, especially recs from executives, managers, clients, or suppliers. Scratch-my-back recommendations are easily spotted and don't carry as much impact.

  • Line up at least 150 connections, to increase your chances of having first-degree connections in places you want to work.

Incorporate your e-mail address book in your job search

After creating your online profile, upload all your e-mail contacts to your social media website so that when you're targeting a company or position, you can quickly check to see who in your network can introduce you to the appropriate hiring manager.

Become a critic and an admirer of your competition's online profiles and portfolios

Spend a few hours looking over your competition's profiles and portfolios on social media websites. What are your overall impressions of each individual? Good, bad, so-so? What changes would make each person more appealing? Keep a list of pros and cons to guide you in preparing your own checklist for social presentation. (If you're unsure of your judgment talent, ask a business friend to help look you over.)

Some job seekers go social with an online work portfolio. You can also view sample portfolios on myeFolio, a service that offers handsome free templates to display your employment history, educational background, certifications and licensure, and talents.

Share your job search with Facebook friends

Your Facebook buddies may be more energetic than LinkedIn or Twitter connections when you send out calls for helping hands. If you're making a stealth search, go to Account, click Privacy Settings, and choose Friends Only. Additionally, create other lists that are based only on information that you want to share with members of each specific type of list.

Include people outside your industry

Enroll as many same-industry professionals as possible in your social spaces, preferably well-connected managers and executives. But also encourage job seekers active in various other industries. Why? As outsiders, they're not in your echo chamber. The outsiders may experience and share a diversity of current recruitment practices and opportunities that you may otherwise miss.

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