Hashtag this and hashtag that … hashtags are everywhere!

What’s the purpose and importance of hashtags? If you are new to hashtags, they are more than a key you push when checking your voicemail, and they do not necessarily mean how many pounds of meat you are purchasing.

Did you know hashtags got their start in social media with Twitter? They were a way of making it easier for people to find, follow and contribute to a conversation. Today, hashtags play an important role in social media by garnering attention on social media platforms, specifically Twitter and Instagram.

If you are on the hunt for a new job, believe it or not, hashtags can help you. They are useful in networking, finding opportunities and getting your resume noticed by employers who utilize social media to recruit. Personally, after 17 years in the staffing industry, I can attest to using social media when searching for the perfect candidate.

Want to help recruiters and hiring managers find you? Use a hashtag that promotes you and your job search. If you post something on social media relating to looking for work, add a hashtag such as #jobhunt, #employment, or #resume. Trying to get cute or elaborate does not always help, but it can still be fun and gain attention.

According to thebalancecareers.com, hashtags can be used for general networking to connect you with people in the industry in which you hope to work. Here is the tip: look up key people in your field on social media and see what hashtags they use. When appropriate, include the same hashtags when you post on social media.

When you attend a professional conference, use the suggested hashtag the event coordinators have created to promote it. It will put you in touch with others in attendance, or even better, in touch with those who may be hiring.

In addition, from thebalancecareers.com, here are the most common tips when using hashtags for finding a job:

• Use hashtags that are already common. Don’t create new hashtags and hope that people start to use them. Make sure to use hashtags that are already popular among the groups you are interested in getting to know. To know which hashtags are popular, check out what influential people in your industry are using on their social media platforms. Ask colleagues which hashtags they use or follow, and whether they participate in any Twitter chats.

• Be careful which hashtags you use. Similarly, make sure you use hashtags that are not only in use, but are used by people you want to be associated with.

For example, if you include the hashtag #hunt to try and convey that you are job searching, you will link your post with hunting enthusiasts rather than employment recruiters! Before adding a hashtag, do a quick search to see who else tends to use the hashtag.

• Use hashtags to share professional content. Make sure that, when you include a hashtag related to your job search on a social media post, your post is professional. Do not include a hashtag like #jobsearching on a post about your pets, for example. Keep both your hashtags and your content professional.

• Use hashtags sparingly. While hashtags are a useful new tool for job seeking, don’t go overboard. You don’t want to include dozens of hashtags in every LinkedIn article you post or every tweet you write. Select two or three hashtags that will be particularly useful for your specific job search needs.

So, if you haven’t used hashtags before, give it a try and hashtag away!

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com.

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