The Internet has significantly changed how people go about job hunting. Now, instead of browsing the classified section of the newspaper, most people browse websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster when they’re looking for jobs. Networking can take place entirely online, and your résumé can be submitted to a potential employer with the click of a button.
And then there’s social media and the potential can of worms it opens for job hunters if they’re not following online etiquette to ensure their professional footprint remains professional. Don’t let your digital presence stress you out. Follow these steps to ensure your social media accounts are going to help you professionally and not hinder you.
Develop a great personal brand
Whether you start a social media account for professional or personal reasons, you have to be unique if you want to stand out in the noise of the Internet. Have you crafted a particularly interesting Twitter bio for yourself? Is your body of work an in-depth analysis of how jellyfish react to different genres of music? Find your niche and make sure your online presence is polished. And don’t forget to use a nice, clear picture for your profile shot.
Double-check your privacy settings
You should always give your social media privacy settings a second look before diving into job hunting. Can people tag you in photos on Twitter? Are all of your Facebook profile pictures publicly visible or just your current one? Who can see your Instagram posts? These are all things to consider when you give your privacy settings a health check.
Update your LinkedIn profile
It should go without saying that one of the first things you do when you shift into career change mode is to check that your LinkedIn profile is up to date. As the largest professional networking site out there, LinkedIn is crucial to your professional footprint online, especially if you happen to do the next step on this list. And remember to switch the “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities,” feature on! You can find it under Job Seeking Preferences in your LinkedIn Settings & Privacy.
We’ve all done it! There’s no shame in Googling yourself, especially if you’re job hunting. What kind of results and pictures pop up when you search your name online? Is it stuff that you can control? A great way to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, digitally-speaking, is having an updated LinkedIn profile and/or website, because those are more likely to land at the top of a Google search for your name.
Post and follow industry-relevant content
Obviously, when people are trying to hire you, they want to know that you’re an expert in your industry. Sharing industry-relevant content and articles is an easy way to say, “I know what I’m talking about.” Post that ground-breaking article on jellyfish husbandry on LinkedIn. Start a thread on nano-bot technology on Twitter. Show that you’re up to speed on your professional field and, most importantly, very passionate about it. Following industry-relevant hashtags can also help you find the content you want to share.
Engage with industry professionals
If you want to be considered an expert in your field, then you should probably start rubbing elbows with your professional peers, even if that elbow-rubbing is happening online. Is there someone who’s always popping up in the #JellyfishHusbandry hashtag on LinkedIn? Follow them. Does your favorite tech Twitter account retweet a few particular users a lot? Follow them.
More importantly, engage with them. Try to start a conversation with your professional peers. You never know; a singular moment on Twitter could turn into a life-changing career opportunity somewhere down the road.
Follow your potential employer’s social channels
If someone is going through the trouble of checking out your social media, they’re probably at the very least considering you for the job. Make sure you’re following your potential employer’s social channels. Not only does it show how serious you are about wanting the position, but it will also give you excellent insight into what’s going on at the organization and what they value, which can help out immensely during an interview.