Social Media has the power to make or break your chances of landing that dream job and progressing your career.

92% of recruiters use social media during the hiring process; whether it's to reach out and contact individuals, or to do a little background research on candidates. So we’ve put together a guide to help you scout out opportunities using social and to ensure you make a good first impression when the right one does come along.

Put yourself out there

Unsurprisingly a lot of people use the professional networking site LinkedIn to search for job opportunities, and 87% of recruiters find it the most useful resource for hiring. It gives you the chance to engage directly with an employer or recruiter, and a personalised private message makes for a far more interesting introduction than yet another email.

Remember to make it easy for recruiters to find you. So when you're hunting for a job, be sure you have your desired job title set, 'Sales Analyst' for example, then when a potential employer or recruiter searches for that role in the nearby area, it's simple for them to find and contact you.

Don’t forget to follow the companies you’re interested in working for on Facebook and Twitter as well. They may advertise vacancies on these channels so it's a great way of ensuring you’re first to react when that perfect role pops up. Also, this will help you keep up to date with all the company news, so when it comes to interview stage, you will be able to wow them with your understanding of their recent business activities.

Make the right impression

Potential employers are very likely to come across your Facebook profile when doing a background check, so make sure there's nothing that will make you look unprofessional (e.g. drunken festival videos or photos from your last lads holiday).

It can be a good idea to make your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles private, only allowing approved followers or friends to see your posts. It’s down to your preference though. Take time to read through the privacy options, there is a lot of customisation available to help you find the settings to suit you. 

Hopefully you know better than to share holiday snaps on LinkedIn. But even so you still need to keep your profile looking fresh and professional to help you stand out. Make sure your experience section is up to date with your latest company, role and responsibilities. Have you moved cities recently? If an employer thinks you're too far away to commute they may rule you out quickly.

Think before you tweet

It’s important to use your discretion with social media. Remember that once you put something out there, it can be very hard to make it go away. This goes for sharing photos of your friends too. It may be funny in the moment, but try to consider the professional reputation they’re trying to uphold.

If your Twitter profile is public, users can scroll down and see every tweet you've ever posted. You often see celebrities in trouble for a tasteless joke they made on Twitter years ago. So it’s worth having a look through to make sure you're happy with everything your younger self posted.

Also, you might want to reconsider sharing lots of funny gifs and cat videos during work hours. If a potential employer knows you're currently employed, it might give them the wrong impression if you're on Twitter and Facebook from nine to five instead of working.

Do your research

LinkedIn can be great for preparing for your interview. If you have the names of your interviewers, you can check their job titles and career path and find out who to look out for when you visit the office. They’ll also get a notification when you view their profile, which will help you make a good impression, as recruiters like to know you’ve done your research.

So social media is a lot more than just memes and selfies. It could actually help you land your future career, or, at the very least, using social media to find a job means you can feel a little more productive when you’re spending your free time on your phone.

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