It’s not just about having a Facebook. It’s about knowing how to use it, not abuse it. It’s about making a LinkedIn and actually linking in. It’s about Tweeting on time and on-point. So before you dive in to a social media job experiment, take a moment to consider these dos and don’ts from the experts.
Do:Look at other LinkedIn profiles of people similar to yourself, says Chandlee Bryan, a professional résumé writer, and career coach. "LinkedIn is a giant database that can serve as a resource for creating your own profile and presence on the site," Bryan says. "If you’re stuck trying to define yourself and what you’re doing at your job, look at someone else’s profile and you can learn how to present yourself better."
Do:Only "link in" with people you know, says Robert Hellmann, career coach at Hellmann Career Consulting and author of "The Social Media Boost: Accessible Techniques To Accelerate Your Job Search And Career Growth With LinkedIn, Twitter And Other Social Media" (CreateSpace, 2016).
"I had a client who started using LinkedIn and had 1,000-plus connections. They were mostly strangers," Hellmann says. "It was completely useless to him."
LinkedIn is ideal for maintaining relationships over time, and for that, a personal connection needs to exist, Hellman says.
Share anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable with being on the front page of a newspaper, advises Chris Forman, founder of StartWire, a company that Bryan recommends as a must-use social media job search website. Forman has been creating job-recruiting technology for 15 years, and has some common sense advice for using social media.
"It’s not just about posting that picture of you drinking on spring break anymore," Forman says. "People are looking at comments and statuses and they’re wanting to see if you’re just being nasty for little reason. If they find a comment of someone flaming someone, they may say, ‘Is this the type of person I want in my organization?’"
Ask for a job right off the bat. Although it sounds counterintuitive, asking if there are job openings can come off sounding needy or clueless about job-searching protocol. Use open-ended questions to create dialogue and communicate in a way that encourages conversations. Ask for advice about the job search, referrals to networking contacts or insights on a particular company.
Wait around for someone to find you and don’t expect grand results in a day.
People spend too much time hoping to be found on LinkedIn, Hellmann says. "It’s a passive job search instead of going after what you want. LinkedIn is ideal for an active job search. It’s all about leveraging your network and contacting people you don’t know."