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Feb 21, 2017 | Cindy Madden

Did you know that studies have shown that more than 60 percent of employers turn to social media when considering job applicants?

Organizations are using social media sites including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to both promote their businesses and connect with potential job candidates. By following a few simple tips, you can use social media to your advantage and get in front of hiring managers.

Build your Personal Brand

  • While you do want to project a professional image, you should also show your unique personality in the about me and bio sections of your social media pages. Along with sharing your education experience and keywords describing your career interests, be sure to include internships or volunteering experiences. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 40 percent of employers selected candidates who seemed well-rounded on their profiles.
  • Connect your social media sites with an email that is a professional, simple variation on your name.
  • Use a professional-looking picture or headshot – no selfies. Use a high-quality photo with a neutral background.
  • Add links to your other social media profiles, personal website, blog, and online portfolio.
  • Follow organizations you are interested in to discover job opportunities, announcements about the company, and potential contacts in the organization.
  • Choose a Twitter handle that will be recognizable as you.

Make Connections on LinkedIn

  • Take advantage of the millions of professional groups on LinkedIn. Find appropriate ones to follow and join to gain some valuable contacts.
  • Request a connection with professionals you have worked with or met through networking channels. Be sure to personalize your request by offering some information on why you would like to connect.
  • Request recommendations from current and former supervisors and employees. You can even write the recommendation or offer suggestions to make the process easier for them. Bonus points for recommendations from satisfied customers or clients.

Put your Best Foot Forward

Nationally known social media consultant Rachel Strella is quoted in the 2016 Forbes article Could Your 'Facebookonality' Be Hurting Your Business, as saying, “People often believe their business accounts and personal accounts are separate, but in today’s world your business brand is only as strong as your personal brand.”

Before taking any action on social media, it is best to take a step back and think if you would want a future employer noticing what you are about to post, comment, share, or even like. The article suggests avoiding posting about topics involving issues with your personal relationships or health or opinions on religion, race, gender, politics, or social issues. To avoid any damage to your social media image, the article’s basic tips include:

  • Know your audience
  • Be sensitive to other viewpoints
  • Don’t jump to conclusions about others’ intentions
  • Watch your language
  • Be respectful

It is also advised to scroll through your old Facebook and Twitter posts, tweets, and photos you may have been tagged in to be sure none of them are inappropriate. You can simply “untag” yourself in any questionable posts and pictures and then update your privacy settings to avoid any future risqué posts done on your behalf.

When in doubt, treat your social media sites and profiles as you would your resume. Keep it professional but be sure that your personality shines through.

For more tips and advice on how to search for job opportunities, contact our Career Services office at careerservices@stevenson.edu.

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