Using the Power of Social Media

Concentrate your networking and job search efforts on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn rather than social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However, if you choose to use social networking sites in your job search, follow these tips:

  • Consider anything put online as public.
  • Make sure all of your social networking methods, such as Facebook and Twitter are up-to-date and consistent with each other before starting a job search or personal branding campaign using social media.
  • Employers do not have the right to require access to your social media accounts.

Facebook Tips

  • Use privacy controls to make sure employers cannot access your account, but consider anything put on the Internet as public.
  • Government organizations that require a security clearance (CIA, FBI, etc.) are able to access Facebook accounts (despite privacy controls). Social networking sites are considered open source intelligence.
  • ‘Like’ organizations, but remember that the organization is then able to see your public profile.
  • If you fan an organization, engage with it by adding feedback to discussion forums and asking questions in order to demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the organization.
  • Even when using privacy controls, keep your Facebook content clean.
    • Do not have inappropriate photos on your account, such as drinking, risqué attire, etc.
    • Do not have inappropriate comments on your account, such as drinking, drug use, foul language, discriminatory comments about people or organizations, or negative comments about an employer, co-worker, or professor.
    • Do not join groups about inappropriate topics, such as drinking too much, being late to work, procrastinating, partying too much, etc.
    • Monitor what your friends are writing on your wall and tagged photos of yourself.
    • Use Facebook to provide a positive impression of your personal and professional interests.
      • Use correct grammar and spelling.
      • Highlight community service, rewards, achievements, and interests.
      • If an employer ‘friends’ you after an interview, direct the person to your LinkedIn profile instead. Respond by letting the employer know that your Facebook profile is for friends and personal acquaintances, and LinkedIn is for professional networking.

Twitter Tips

  • Unless you are keeping your account entirely professional, you need to have two accounts: a personal account that is private with invitation-only followers, and a professional account that is public.
  • For your professional account, use your real name for your handle.
  • For your personal account, do not use your real name.
  • Upload a professional photo of yourself onto your account.
  • Write a brief bio about yourself that describes your strengths and professional interests, so people will know who you are.
  • Create your complete profile (photo and bio) before following others.
  • Have a baseline understanding of the industry before using Twitter, so you’ll be able to write informed tweets and comments.
  • Follow industry leaders, organizations in which you are interested, and professional associations.
  • Link Twitter to your LinkedIn page.
  • Don’t worry about who is following you; use Twitter to follow others.
  • If you tweet, avoid abbreviating and txt spk.
  • What to tweet, if you tweet:
    • Ask for help or advice about the profession.
    • Recommend web resources, blog posts, videos, books, other tweeters, etc.
    • Link to photos of professional projects, conferences, etc.
    • Tweet about your own website or blog.
    • Retweet comments, links, etc.
    • Thank people who respond to your tweets.