Young man with tablet computer

An introduction to using social media as a powerful job search tool

Peter Harris|

When you’re looking for a new job, it is important to use all of the resources available to you. Since you probably have accounts on multiple social networking sites anyway, (and if you don’t, as a job seeker you should), there are some ways that you can efficiently use your profiles as powerful career-management tools. The most important things to keep in mind with your online appearance are to be present, consistent, connected and relevant.

Be present (and be presentable)

The first step, obviously, is to be present. Create your account on the most popular social networking sites such as Facebook, on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Make sure to use appropriate profile pictures. Hopefully one that makes you look pleasant and confident. (But not too confident, it should go without saying that you ought to be fully clothed and sober.)

It is important to be present, because many recruiters will be looking you up on social media sites – even if they’ve found your resume through a referral or you’ve applied directly. It has become part of the normal screening process. Recruiters will be looking to see if you show common sense (re: are fully clothed and sober), have good communication skills, and if you seem like a good fit for the company.

In some cases it can actually be a red flag for recruiters if they can’t find you at all online. It may seem like you have something to hide, or you are a luddite who does not embrace new technologies, or that you are an anti-social loner. In any case, it is in your own best interest to present a friendly, connected, well-rounded image of yourself online. 

So be presentable, in a recent survey, 69% of recruiters surveyed said they have rejected a candidate based on content found on a profile. Of course, people also get hired because of their profiles. Researchers have found that employers prefer the profiles of people who appear to be more sociable, outgoing and who have many friends and activities. Being well-travelled and having a broad range of interests also scores candidates bonus points.

Be consistent

Another thing that recruiters will be screening you for online is your honesty. Make sure that your profiles match the information that you supply potential employers. For example, don’t constantly post rants online with misspelled words and bad grammar and yet claim to be an expert communicator. It will hurt your credibility.

Also make sure that the actual facts match what you’ve listed in on your resume. Discrepancies between job titles or dates, your education or skills as listed on your resume vs. online can be a warning that you don’t have your story straight.

­­Be connected

The whole point of social networking sites is, of course that they connect you with other people. So let your connections know what your interests are and what kind of work you are looking for. You may not even know which friends or friends of friends can be valuable connections.

Don’t wait until you’re looking for a job to expand your network – building and maintaining a list of contacts is an ongoing project. (And networking is a two-way street – make sure to help others out whenever you can.)  

You can also follow companies that you’re interested in working for. Many tweet and post their opportunities on their Facebook pages. You’ll also gain real-time knowledge of what they’re communicating about their business, products and services – all of which will be valuable information when tailoring a resume or preparing for an interview.  

Join group discussions with other professionals in your industry. You’ll make new connections, keep abreast of the latest news and trends, and have the opportunity to share your own ideas and interests.

Be relevant

Social media can give you lots of opportunities to communicate your thoughts, so use the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of your field. Write and share your own blog pieces. Comment on the latest news and developments in your industry. Show that you are truly interested in your specialty and aware of what is going on.

Then why not include links to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles right on your resume? Let potential employers know that you have a robust online presence and that you’d like them to get to know more about you than can be conveyed in a job application. Who they find online will be a presentable and consistent professional who has relevant knowledge and connections within their industry.


Peter Harris

Peter Harris on Twitter

Category: Job Search Strategies, Student
  • C.y. Lim

    Duh! Pete Harris always states the obvious!

    • Peter Harris

      Hey C.Y., True, this is just an introduction to using social media. More of a beginner’s guide to online networking. I’ll talk some more advanced strategies next!

  • Pavin Jacob

    This article clearly state the importance of social media in finding a job. Also the influence of social media in the selection process. It will be a warning for the job seekers to cleanup the profile and make it presentable.

  • Robi paul

    it is a very intersesting articles, becusae the articles proves the importance of social media in job search. many recruters are looking for employees who are sociable, well rounded and interested in social media. so i agree that social media play a vital role in job findings

  • Jilu Elizabeth Mathew

    This article provides some important strategies to conduct a powerful and effective job search. Social media profiles and networking are part of today’s career management tools. It is very interesting to know employers normally prefer the profiles of canadidates who appear to be sociable, outgoing, friendly and well rounded!


    This article is so helpful and it was a new knowledge for me that one should not find in social media can be actually red flagged.He also provides the informations that how one can maintain their social media profile and can use it for job search.However, in my view, recruiters should not do this because profiles in social media is something personel and its mainly for friends to mingle each other…

  • Preethi Muddhukrishna

    Social media can either make or brake your oppertunity or chances of you getting your dream job. Not existing on the social media may allow your employer to think of you as a laggard or luddite. On the the contrary if you are active on the social media but fail to maintian a consistent, connected and relevant account you may still get into trouble. So it is very important to have social media accounts, be active and maintain a respectable and well rounded image of yourself to optimize your oppertunities.
    Preethi Muddhukrishna

  • Nikhil Khedkar

    As much as I’m all for honest social media presence I’d like to mention an important factor and that is controlling one’s ‘privacy’. It’s important for individuals to realize that they have complete control over the information that is accessible to companies that might want to do a background check based on social media presence. Control the information you’d like put out there, irrespective of the job prospects.

  • Navreet Kaur

    By reading this article I came to know about how important social media sites are. Employers look into your profiles to see if you are well rounded person.

  • Abin Abraham

    This article is very informative and clearly reflected the importance of social networking sites while looking for a job.The authour presented it very relevantly which enable people to become more sociable and use these medias more appropriately.

  • Mehul Jagawat

    Yes, using social media tool makes your life more easy rather havig any complications. It helps you gain more valuable experience, real-time updates about latest market trends, products and business. Goggle+ also helps you in engaging live conversation with clients and making new connections.

  • Manthan Sunil Bhayani

    This article is appropriate to start with as Mr. Harris has discussed in his following
    comment he posted. I agree to the points discussed; such as, rants online, wrong
    use of the language, discrepancies between jobs and are you presentable. Emphasis
    on topics such as: Be present, be consistence, be connected and be relevant.
    These topics have been explained very well.

  • Deepti Sjl

    I AGREE thar social media helps a person to expnad his network and provides knowledge about the industries and let us know whats going on around the world, but i dont think its correct to judge a person through his profile on facebook, i agree with one of my friend that some things are meant to be personal, you cant jugde persons ability to work and strengh.

  • Paula Dnistrianskyj

    personally, I follow alot of the marijuana industry and developements on that, and it may give the wrong idea to potential employers, or someone who has a medical prescription/reason for using marijuana, doesn’t mean they’ll go into detail about why they are using it on Facebook or other social media and that could lead to people judging, without knowing all the facts. My Facebook is personal, I don’t butt my nose into what my boss’ do when they aren’t at work, and I don’t expect them to butt into mine, if I do my job well, am on time, all the time, I don’t see how my private life has anything at all to do with my work.

  • Taylor

    It is both ironic and amusing that in a post about professional online appearances, there are spelling and/or grammatical errors in every comment but one.