Social media is more popular than it has ever been with billions of people connecting online. When it comes to your job hunt, it can be a valuable tool, but it can also destroy your chances of getting a job. Follow these steps to make sure your social media can work for you.

  1. Google Yourself

If you’re job hunting, you should know what comes up when you search your own name. However, you shouldn’t stop with just one search. Search your name with your city. Search your name with your job title, your industry and your previous employers. Search your email address, and search your usernames that are tied to your real name.

This way you’ll learn what is out there about you or what is out there about people with similar names. If an employer searches your name but unflattering information about someone with a similar name pops up, you’ll want to be prepared to counter that. You may also find old, embarrassing social media profiles you made years ago and then forgot about.

  1. Delete, Delete, Delete

If you found any old social media profiles or any old online posts in your search, now is the time to delete what you can. You may have to recover your login information if it’s been long enough. Take down old profiles and delete all of the information inside.

This is also a good time to comb through any profiles associated with your real name that you still use. Keep in mind that even if you don’t use your real name on a website, someone might be able to find it by searching for your email or a username that you use on a different, public website. Delete any embarrassing posts or pictures and anything too controversial that you wouldn’t want your boss to see.

  1. Get Some Privacy

Next, check the privacy settings on your social media profiles and set them appropriately. Do you only use Facebook to keep in touch with family and old friends? Set strong privacy settings. Do you use your Twitter account to tweet out industry news and information? Make sure anyone searching for you can find and read it easily.

At the same time, remember that on most social media platforms, even the strictest privacy settings don’t hide everything. An employer may still be able to see your profile photo, even if everything else on your profile is private. You want to make sure anything visible casts you in the best light.

  1. Try Social Media Marketing

While you may want some of your social media presence to stay private, social media can actually help you in your job hunt. Professional social media accounts can showcase your knowledge and your commitment to your work. A professional Twitter account that you use to share industry news and engage in thoughtful conversation about industry topics can set you apart and get you noticed in a good way.

LinkedIn is the most important social network for your job hunt, but depending on your industry, other social channels like Instagram, Facebook and even Snapchat can be valuable tools.

  1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence

Since LinkedIn is so important in your job hunt, we’re talking about it in its own section. First, you want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is completely up to date and matches your resume. Don’t let the information get outdated. You also want to use a professional and current photo. Recruiters and interviewers will look at your profile to get a better idea of who you are.

Remember that LinkedIn is more than just an online resume. LinkedIn can help connect you with recruiters. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a job, a recruiter might find you on LinkedIn and contact you with a great opportunity. That won’t happen if you don’t have a strong, updated profile. Even if you’re unemployed, include something as a current position because that will help you show up in searches. In your job title, put the position you’re looking for. In the “Company Name” box, put something like “Seeking New Opportunities.”

Some companies even allow you to apply to jobs directly on LinkedIn. That means the first thing those recruiters will see is your profile. LinkedIn is your opportunity to stand out – so take advantage of it!

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