By Susan Ricker
Social-media websites aren't just for catching up with friends anymore. Many companies have embraced social media as a tool to reach their consumers, and job seekers can take advantage of this information feed. While professional-networking sites such as LinkedIn may seem like the obvious choice for professional social networking, other profile pages may be equally beneficial.
Check out the below tips for using popular social-media sites in your job search, and learn how each site can get you closer to the job you want.
This dominating social-media platform makes introductions and getting to know others easy with its user profiles and interest pages. When you're writing your cover letter for an open position, check out the company's Facebook page. You can quickly learn about the goals and values of that business, as well as how it interacts with its fans. Pick out what's important to you and to the business, write about this relationship in your cover letter, and then tie this connection to your experience and interest in the position.
Just as you may use Facebook or other social media to get to know a company, employers may do the same to you if you apply for a job. In fact, a CareerBuilder survey found that 37 percent of companies research candidates via social networks. Anytime you're searching for a job, double-check your privacy settings for all personal profiles so that you're in control of what a company may learn about you.
This site is the most commonly used social-media platform for professional networking and job opportunities. Keep your profile closely matched with the résumé you're sending out to employers, as any discrepancies will reflect poorly on you. Choose a professional headshot, and use this site strictly for professional purposes.
Once you've created your profile, explore and make connections. Join groups, answer questions and interact with other people. Also connect with alumni, co-workers, bosses, family and friends, and share your professional goals with them. Sometimes who you know really does make a difference in a job search.
Famous for communicating in 140 characters or less, Twitter is an easily manageable way to stay current and aware of emerging industry trends. You can use the site's "Discover" tab and "Who to follow" function to search for industry- and business-related accounts. Follow those accounts, share related articles and participate in up-to-the-minute conversations. This will help you to stay up-to-date on industry news, no matter how long you've been out of work. You can also network and learn about industry events you may want to attend.
To get industry information specific to your location, go to http://twitter.com/search-advanced and put in the keyword of the industry you want to learn more about, such as "sales" or "health care." You can add your location by city, state or zip code and choose the mile radius you want your search to include. This function will show you what's going on directly around you in your industry and can be helpful when preparing for job interviews.
While perhaps an unlikely job-search resource, this video-sharing social-media site can be a valuable tool. CareerBuilder's YouTube channel has videos that focus on topics such as writing cover letters, reskilling for today's workforce and what to wear for an interview. You can also do general searches for tutorial videos on refreshing your technology skills and tips for staying calm during interviews.
Today's job search has drastically changed since the days of mailing in résumés or going door-to-door. Take full advantage of the professional elements of social-media sites, and you're sure to make significant progress in your job search.
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