Four Tips for Using Social Media in Your Job Search

Having trouble getting that first job?

Doesn’t it feel sometimes like Clint Eastwood is staring you down with his piercing eyes, asking, “So, kid, what’ll it be? Get off your ass and get a job!” Stressful, right?

Lucky for you Clint is not standing in your living room, grilling you on your future. It’s most likely your parents or friends who are playing that role.

So how do you get the Clint Eastwoods of the world off your back and land that career-launching first job?

Cleaning up and ramping up your social media presence may be just the trick.

In today’s job market, promoting yourself through social media is an absolute must.

Here are four tips to put social media to work for you and your career..

  1. CLEAN UP YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT: Maintain a clean Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account. These days, social media is a must. If you don’t have it, get it. If you don’t use it, start to. And if there are things you wouldn’t want employers to see (think drinking pictures), get rid of them. Google yourself, just like potential employers will. Would they get a good first impression of you? In addition to doing searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo, use free “reputation management” tools like Reppler, SimpleWash, and Pipl.
  2. BE ACTIVE IN YOUR INDUSTRY: Join professional groups on LinkedIn, follow the blogs of key players in your field, comment on those blogs, retweet stuff from those key players’ Twitter accounts, and most importantly, start a professional blog about a niche in your field that will cause you to interview those same key players. It’s easy to send a tweet, sharing some industry news or trends along with your thoughts. And it’s easy to follow key people in your field. Interacting with those people will put your name on their radar screens. So do your research. Who are the key players? Who do you admire in the industry? Which companies would you want to work for? Start tweeting and blogging and commenting. Be confident, summon your inner Eastwood, and be active using social media.
  3. VOICE YOUR OPINION:  Once you have your social media accounts all cleaned up and are following key people on Twitter and reading their blogs and joining their groups, give an potential employer a reason to think highly of you. Show why you are passionate about the field you are pursuing and let your voice be heard. Take to your keyboard and demonstrate your knowledge of  the industry you want to be a part of.  Do it on chats, on question-and-answer boards, through tweets and retweets, in blog comments, and in your own blog.
  4. START A PROFESSIONAL BLOG: There is no better way to demonstrate your skill sets, showcase your industry knowledge, and get in touch with the key players in your field than by starting a professional blog about a niche in your industry. Choose a topic you’re passionate about that will force you to interview key players, and get started. Use whichever platform you prefer (WordPress is the standard but isn’t easy; Blogger is easier but less robust; Tumbler is graphically pleasing). Start publishing at least once a week. Make an editorial calendar of topics that reflect what’s going on in your field. Get you and your skills out there for people to see.

These some key few steps that will steer you in the right direction. It’s up to you.

As Clint Eastwood once said: “Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.”

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