5 ½ Social Media Tips for Job Seekers

When I was unemployed, I used to wish I could get paid to job search. It sure felt like a full-time job!

Cover letters, job listings, networking events…with all that time, energy, and sometimes money invested, you don’t want a decision made against you before you even know you’re being considered.

But that’s exactly what’s happening. With social media handing us the good, the bad, and the ugly within seconds, your carefully-crafted persona can get buried.

How can you help the hiring manager make the “right” decision–the one that leads to your interview?


5 1/2 Social Media Tips for Job Seekers

1. Cyber-stalk yourself.

Google now, Google often. Sick of hearing about it? Google yourself anyway. The recruiter or hiring manager will. The few seconds it takes to type in your name are worth it, even if you think you’ve got nothing to hide. I’ve found myself listed on Spokeo and ZoomInfo with nary a word to me.

How do you fix unpleasant surprises? If it’s on a site you don’t control, try contacting the website administrator and asking them to remove the content. The length of time varies for Google to re-index the page, but soon that content will be hidden from search results (I can’t vouch for the Wayback Machine, however).

If you can’t get the content removed, work on pushing your online positive presence. Posting quality content on other sites, setting up an About.me or WordPress account with your name, and creating a Google Profile are just three of the things you can do to push the undesirables out of your top 10 search results.

2. Update your LinkedIn status (and your entire profile).

Personally, I like it when my LinkedIn profile shows up first in Google search results. Posting frequent status updates helps do that, with the added benefit of showing how present and engaged you are in your professional life. That’s a whole lot of win for relatively minimal effort.

Just be selective when posting: Make sure what you post is in line with your professional goals. This is a great opportunity to let people know about a project you’re working on or a certification you’re pursuing, or something cool happening in your industry.

While you’re there, optimize the rest of your profile. Lisa Dougherty’s “16 Tips To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile And Enhance Your Personal Brand” is an excellent, comprehensive guide.

Just don’t: Sound desperate. Leave off any variant of the “I need a job” tagline.

You probably don’t want to LOOK desperate, either.

3. Check your Facebook privacy.

Facebook. Still on it? Keep reading. It’s easy to get caught up in all the fun stuff and forget that Facebook is a business designed to make money on you. You may not be paying in actual currency, but you are paying in something arguably more priceless: Information. Both advertisers and your future employers are happy to take advantage.

So while you’re virtually toasting that new baby or posting that meme, take a moment to go through all of your privacy settings, including those on your photo albums. I made a Facebook Privacy Tutorial that is probably obsolete as I write this sentence, but try it or something similar for guidelines.

Also, consider separating business and personal contacts into Friends lists so you always know exactly who is reading what you post.

Now, you may not care what people think of you, or want to work for an employer who would frown on certain activities, and that’s entirely your prerogative. It’s still good to be aware of the messages you’re sending even when you’re offline.

4. Watch what you tweet.

My dad always told me, “Don’t write anything you wouldn’t shout from the rooftops.” I am sure a lot of us have heard that from many sources. Now take that to Twitter.

For job search and career management, Twitter is bursting with resources and people eager to help you find your way, all day, every day. This platform is a great way to make new connections who in turn will lead you to even more connections.

Just be careful what you tweet in turn. Unless you protect your account or only tweet under pseudonyms, everyone can see everything you’ve ever posted–just take a look at 30 Tweets That Will Make You Lose Your Job!

Also, monitor your followers: If you see a recruiter following you, invest some care in your tweets. ResumeBear (now Tavorro) has noted that recruiters can set up RSS feeds of keywords to help screen out potential candidates.


5. Build your brand, inside and out.

Help someone out in a LinkedIn Group. Start a blog with posts related to your industry or career. Join other professional online communities and become an active part of their forums. Sign up on career-building websites and become a mentor.

What’s all this got in common? With any one of these, you’re showing potential employers how experienced you are, what skills you have, how you interact with others, and what others think of you.

Then what? (Here’s the 1/2🙂

Get outside.

Social media is only one part of your career efforts. You need to balance all your hard work offline as well. When you attend that live networking event or local meet-up that contains people from your online communities, challenge yourself to take your connections to the next level.

Remember, every time you talk to someone online or off, stranger or friend, you’re involved in the golden networking equation: Everybody you meet has a job or knows somebody who has a job, and jobs mean companies, and companies mean hiring opportunities.

When you pay attention to how you use social media, your next job could be just a connection away.

What’s helped you turn your job search into a job?

Additional resources:

–Disclaimer and attributions–

Adapted and updated from my post on the myPathfinder Career Blog, and also here on LinkedIn.

I’m not a career or a job search expert, I’ve just got a background in them. I post about things that have worked for me and what I’ve seen work for others in the hope that these experiences will help.

If You’re Sending an Online Business Card, Don’t Do This

business card

In another installment of things LinkedIn lets its affiliates do, I have received several of these:

Subject: <Name> has shared a document.
To: 10 people whose last name starts with “B.”

Body:<Name> has shared their online business card with you. Please click to accept and leave them a comment.

You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? It’s just a business card, only online, like they do. Except this one includes information that surprised me:

<Full name>
<Phone number>
<Full address>
<Strange promotional advertisement for Nextdoor>

Full address? Promo? Even Instagram…do these belong on a business card?

Who’s fostering all this? ERated.me. (Incidentally, I did not go further than their splash page because it wants you to sign in with LinkedIn, and I didn’t want it to get ahold of me.)

ERated does allow some flexibility. I received another “online business card” message that, when clicked, took me to a “Leave rating for <Name>!” screen, which has absolutely nothing to do with an online business card and includes the pithy phrase:

Why rate <Name>?

It will help in building their reputation specially if you write a nice recommendation while rating.

I’ll just let that sentence stand on its own.

If you’re going to use this tool  anyway, I recommend:

  • Not sending this to 10 or more people at a time. Just as with My Bizcard, it makes you look spammy or lazy.
  • Not calling it an online business card if it’s something else entirely.
  • Not giving your full home address to strangers. Sure, people can probably look it up, but why make it easy?
  • Not loading your Facebook page with lame public posts. “I’d like to be a nudist but we just don’t have the weather for it” and millions of posters don’t help your personal brand. (Disregard this if your personal brand is to parrot hackneyed phrases and constantly forward other people’s stuff.)

I look at it this way:

When you’re meeting people in person, you don’t just throw your entire box of business cards at them. You take some time, have a meaningful conversation, perhaps even ask first to exchange information. Why should it be any different online?

Personal Branding & Social Media: Managing You, Inc.

What’s your online presence saying about you?

Like it or not, your personal brand really isn’t about what YOU say it is—it’s about how others see you. When someone only knows the online you, this can work against you if you’re not aware of how you’re presenting yourself.

Our Twitter #careerchat dove into Personal Branding 101. How do you make sure you’re showing what you want to show? What social media platforms and tools meet your needs?

Key takeaways from the chat:

  • lauragainor: Personal branding is an important step in determining what voice you will have within social media.
  • WriterChanelle: Your personal brand is how you would like to define yourself. The social brand is how you work to define the personal brand.
  • LesleyMWeiss: Easy to get in trouble if you think there’s a separation between social and personal branding–it’s all you!
  • WomensAlly: It is also important to know how to accept failure as part of building your personal brand.
  • MyPath_MP: I think if you’re good at something, it comes through w/o you having to say “Look at me!” Show it, don’t say it.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Ask your spouse or significant other how they explain what you do to others. It’s an eye opener.
  • MidwestPhoto:  Be authentic, be professional. Period. That’s how you keep a good rep.
  • Kblennon: Online rep: Before I do anything I ask myself “Do I want this connected to my name?”  Things on the internet last forever.
  • PaigeHolden: Listen to the people around you so that you can really engage in meaningful conversations.
  • 3D_EXHIBITS: Everyone can always evolve & it’s important to stay consistent, yet relevant.


Here’s the full transcript