In today’s world, if you want to boost your job search and get ahead career-wise, it is not just enough to be present on social media - you should be using your profiles to further your career goals. This can be done through carefully considering what you share and who you choose to connect with. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 65 per cent of employers have hired new employees sourced from social media. This highlights how important social media is and how relevant it can be to your job search.

keep your social life private

Despite the line between work and home becoming ever more blurry, you will need to keep the two facets of yourself separate. This means you’ll have to keep your social self distinct from your work self. Privacy settings are a real savior in this respect. However, it’s vital not to assume that privacy is automatic on social media. In many cases, you’ll have to actively change your settings to stop sharing your posts with everyone. Check through your profiles and ensure you have the most appropriate settings selected for what you’re sharing. If you have a bunch of pictures of you doing shots with your friends, for example, keep that behind a privacy curtain. Make sure you’re choosing to share these kinds of pictures with just your friends, so any hiring managers won’t come across them when searching for you on social media.

optimize your social media profiles

When you’re in the middle of a job search, you need to make sure you’re optimizing your social media profiles. You’ll have to keep it completed and regularly updated because 38 percent of hiring managers think this is what you should be doing. You’ll also have to ensure you’re featuring the right keywords in your social media bios. Explain what you do and what you’d like to do, as well as any specialist areas you work in. This will help you appear in the results of any searches for those terms, critical for grabbing the attention of hiring managers and advancing your career. It’s also vital to keep your profiles clear of any spelling and grammar errors. This is something that could jeopardize your job search, with the UK’s YouGov finding that 56 percent of employers saying they would not hire someone if their social media profiles featured bad spelling or grammar.

use social media as a promotional tool

You can also use your social networks to highlight your strengths. Think of it as an amplification tool - you can post links to content you’ve produced elsewhere. This means you’ll need to have external assets to share, which you should have already established if you’re serious about your job search. What you choose to promote will depend on your specific job and sector. For example, if you’re a marketing candidate, you should link to your blog, while if you’re an IT candidate, you can promote a site you developed. Don’t just keep a link to whatever you’re promoting hidden in your bio - make sure you’re regularly posting links to it.

maintain the right connections

Most people have a great deal of connections that originate from high school or college. However, when you’re using career-focused social networks - like LinkedIn - you should ensure that when you’re using social media as part of a job search, the majority of your connections are linked to work or the industry you operate in. This shows you’re focused on developing your network and can highlight that you already have a strong one in place, which hiring managers could see as a real advantage since it could add value to their company. If you’re worried that you don’t have enough industry connections, you should think about joining some of the groups dedicated to your field. Get active and start engaging in conversation with other professionals. You can then add them as connections.

keep your profiles neutral

Social media may include plenty of debate about current events and politics, but it is advisable to keep out of them if you want to ensure that you are presenting yourself in the best light to potential employers. The YouGov survey found that 29 percent of hiring managers would not hire someone who shared their political beliefs on social media. If you want to engage in political discussion online, consider creating a separate account to do so. If you’re worried about hiring managers finding these profiles, you could always send them a link to your professional account so they won’t come across the other one while searching for you. Social media can offer huge opportunities to highlight your skills and experience to hiring managers, so it’s crucial to ensure you’re promoting yourself the right way. Make sure you’re paying attention to the way you come across and you could gain the advantage over another candidate.

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