As I was contemplating what to write today in regards to using social media in your job search, I thought, wow, such a big topic – where do I start? And then I realized if you haven’t searched for a job before or not recently, how very overwhelming it must be…job search has changed significantly in the last 5 years. I decided my topic today would be about being mindful of your online presence. Do you have one?

My co-worker, Caroline, wrote last week about “Networking“ and that really is what social media is – online networking – a means of sharing ideas, thoughts and yes, even job leads. If you have just met someone – whether online or in-person – you have not yet networked – networking is about following through and growing the relationship by staying in communication.

I often tell clients to be aware of what is on the web in regards to themselves – go on pipl.com and do a deep web search – find out what an employer could learn about you if they searched your name. The reality is they can and do check. I have had clients tell me there will be nothing there – but is there something there about someone else who has your same name? Personally, I want to make sure if someone searches my name on the web that it is actually my info that comes up first, which means I have to be active on social media sites.

It is vital that the message you are putting out is consistent with what you are putting in your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other form you are using. Personal branding has been a hot topic for a number of years now – are you being strategic about ensuring you have a consistent message going out?

First, if you are on Facebook (1.26 billion people are), make sure your privacy settings are high especially when job searching – Facebook is for personal use. Having said that, employers have made decisions on not hiring potential employees based on their Facebook info. Make sure you have a professional picture on your profile – use the same one across all social media platforms.

Tip: Have you reached out to your friends on Facebook to see if they have any job leads? Be specific – let them know what type of work you are looking for. I have had a number of clients successfully find employment through this means.

Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on how to use specific social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Is there something specific you would like to see addressed? I look forward to your comments.

by Michelle O’Donohoe, Resident Blogger for Northern Lights Canada

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