Social media has certainly evolved over the last 15 years. Some platforms have stood the test of time (looking at you, Facebook!) while others have been relegated to the days of yore (tell me you’re a millennial without telling me you’re a millennial… MySpace, anyone?).
One thing’s for sure—like it or not, social media is here to stay. Whether you’re a digital native or new to the game, there are many ways to leverage these platforms to propel you to success in your career and on the job hunt.
1. Clean up your act
Open a private browser and do a quick search of yourself on Google. See what profiles are associated with your name and location. Try to find yourself on any platform you may have used in the past, even if the account is no longer active. You may be surprised to see what comes up! Be sure to untag yourself from anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing your future boss on social media. Brush up on privacy settings for each platform and adjust your profile accordingly.
2. Update your visibility
If you have multiple inactive accounts on social media platforms, do what you can to delete them, even if there isn’t much content. This is time-consuming, but worth it—you want to make sure that your authentic self is associated with real and active profiles, so that future employers can easily identify you if you’re using social media to look for a job or get ahead in a career. If you have photos, make sure they’re appropriate and recent. Keep your bios updated with location and experience, especially after moving or changing jobs. Most importantly, be honest about your experience level. If you’re working on getting your foot in the door in a new industry, say so! “Seeking entry-level position” or “in search of” are a few terms to indicate that you’re looking for new work experiences.
3. Create meaningful engagement
Put yourself out there! Use your social media profiles to join groups and follow pages relevant to your career interests. Ask questions, talk to peers in comments sections, and keep an open mind. Add co-thinkers to your networks and ask them to share any relevant groups or pages with you.
4. Stay informed
There’s no shortage of platforms to choose from, so sometimes fewer is better. Most of us don’t have a personal assistant, brand advisor or social media manager, so if you’re feeling stretched too thin on too many accounts, consider reducing your overall social media presence for quality over quantity. Focus on learning and mastering the platforms best suited for your career and stay informed. Social media is constantly evolving, so it’s best to be flexible. LinkedIn Learning offers free courses and blogs for job seekers, while sites like Mashable can provide you with updates on your favorite social media platforms.
5. Talk to your mentors
Ask questions! What platforms do they use to engage in your industry or community? If they’re on LinkedIn, can they write you a recommendation? Are there other thought leaders they can connect you with on social media? Speak to a guidance counselor or professor and ask them to check out your profiles or resumé. They can offer constructive criticism from their own experiences and make suggestions to keep your profiles competitive.