Social media is now one of the most powerful ways to influence others, both personally and professionally. The ability for an individual or business to instantly share information across a large audience has made the different social platforms incredibly dynamic tools.

As HR managers and recruiters continue using social media for recruitment and to vet potential candidates, it’s important that job seekers understand the best practices for marketing themselves. With over 90 percent of companies now using the platform as a means for gaining more insight into an applicant’s credentials, individuals can be sure they stand out amongst the crowd by shaping their online profiles with these rules in mind.

Make it relevant and complete

When you’re building your social profiles, you want to make sure that you include all of the relevant information. For example, when filling out a LinkedIn profile, it’s important that you cover your complete employment history, educational background and any skills or certifications that you’ve acquired that will boost your value.

Make it professional

A survey conducted by CareerBuilder showed that approximately 35 percent of hiring managers using social networking sites to research candidates found “eyebrow-raising” content that caused them to disqualify a candidate. Nothing is truly private on the Internet these days, so job seekers should keep unsavory content off their profiles.

Promote your industry prowess

Another practice job seekers should follow is openly demonstrating their skills and expertise on their various social channels. Post links to compelling content with personal commentary on the matter. Make sure examples of any past work you’re exceptionally proud of is easily accessible. Reach out to others online as a knowledgeable resource on a specific matter. By actively promoting your industry expertise in a professional way, you’re building good social capital—a characteristic that will help you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.

Engage in career-relevant conversations

Groups are an excellent way for individuals to advertise their interests on social media. Connecting with others whose goals align with yours can show recruiters and hiring managers that you’re active and dedicated to learning more about the industry. Brad Schepp, co-author of How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, recommends “liking” companies you’re interested in and joining the conversation about industry trends to demonstrate your expertise and value to a potential employer.

Keep it updated

It’s easy to get behind on keeping your online résumé and social profiles updated, especially with more important things such as work and personal life going on. However, keeping your online professional presence up-to-date is extremely important. You never know who’s looking at your profile at a given time, so not updating your profile can result in lost opportunities.

Social media continues to blur the lines between our personal and professional lives. The perception of your “personal brand” is shaped by the conversations you have and the way you promote yourself on these social networks, which is why it’s important for active job seekers to stay vigilant in keeping their profiles professionally focused.

12 January 2016

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