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Social media sites allow you to connect with potential employers, find job openings, and get advice en masse from your friends. On the flip side, committing social media sins can utterly ruin your career prospects. Especially with some ATS integrating social profiles found connected through a single email address. So post with discretion, especially if you use your professional email for everything. Here’s how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and sites like them to your advantage during a job search — and how to avoid letting your online persona interfere with your success.

Facebook

A recent study showed that nearly 40% of employers use social media sites like Facebook to screen potential employees, and that number is likely to keep growing. You’ve probably read enough articles on the do’s and don’ts of Facebook posting to know the basics. Do refrain from daily gym selfies; don’t post that angry political rant. It’s simple, really. Don’t put off potential employers by posting questionable content. Or, be sure that your privacy settings don’t broadcast your updates to those outside your friends list. If you do add potential employers and colleagues, use groups to keep professional contacts separate from family and friends or mark your posts so they’ll only be visible for close friends and family.

Twitter

Use Twitter to enhance your job search by following companies you’d love to work for and people you want to emulate in your career. Also be sure to keep your own feed fresh by re-tweeting career-related content or sharing relevant articles often. If you frequently post NSFW (not suitable for work) content on your Twitter feed, consider keeping a separate account for professional use only. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are great places to let people know you’re on the hunt for a new job, and sometimes the best leads come from pre-existing contacts. Still, keep in mind that even if a friend promises to put in the proverbial good word for you, chances are you’ll likely still be asked to submit a resume online. This means that you’ll be subjected to the dreaded automated resume-sorting software. Securing a hot lead on a killer position is only the first step, you’ll still have to nail the resume in order to get an actual interview.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become a go-to social media site for many talent-seeking recruiters, and can be a great tool for the job hunter. When you’re eyeing a position, check out the company’s LinkedIn page. Take a look at the profiles of existing employees and find common denominators. Take note of skills, accomplishments, and even personality traits that seem to be shared by the majority. Make sure to play up these kinds of accomplishments and qualities on your own resume when submitting it. Be careful, however, about making yourself sound unprofessional. Additionally, LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect to similar jobs seekers, industry leaders and potential hires. There’s a wide variety of groups based on profession or interests, but if you’re job hunting, the Premium Job Seeker’s Group is a popular choice.

Snapchat

Snapchat? For job-searching? Totally! The app boasts 100 million users, and they’re not all teenagers swapping selfies. Statistics show that 39% of Snapchat users are in the 25-44 demographic. Snapchatters are more engaged than users of any other social media platform, sharing 700 million snaps every day. You can use Snapchat to get a better glimpse into a company’s culture. Watch what companies you’re following do on Snapchat. For instance, what do they share and how do they keep attracting new followers? Use their snaps for inspiration in building your own brand — and for potential interview ammo. You can also post work-related or productive updates to your own Story and connect your Snapchat profile to your other online channels and boost your followers. Connected and relevant people are the type employers want to hire, especially if you’re going for a job in tech.

Instagram

Instagram provides another way to familiarize yourself with the players in your field, and with the companies you’re interesting in working for. Follow them, and if the content you post is relevant and interesting to their brand, you might get noticed — which would be a serious leg-up on the competition! Just remember to make sure you’re exceedingly careful about what you share. Even if you’re not posting anything illegal or risque, seemingly innocuous things like complaining about traffic or sharing a funny meme can be enough to turn off a hiring manager. Instagram also has great inspirational and motivational accounts. Beside, what better way to spend your downtime than perfecting new hobbies like yoga or cooking, show potential employees you have a well rounded life.

Social media can enhance your job search, and put you on a potential employer’s radar. It can also wreak havoc on your professional reputation if you’re not careful. Use the Internet wisely and use expert resume optimization to help you stand out from the online crowd once your resume gets noticed.

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