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Social Media 101

Social Media in Job Search


I keep hearing about social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and lots of others. How are they similar and different? Which is the best for job search?


There are lots of social media out there, some of which you’ll find helpful, and some potentially detrimental.

According to author Hildy Gottlieb, blogger at Creating the Future, LinkedIn is like a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce: everybody is there to promote their own business and learn about others; they dress in their business best; it can be formal and dry. Twitter, by contrast, is like the party at the end of the universe: everybody’s talking to everybody about everything; it’s a good place to meet new people, but not terribly conducive to deep relationships. Facebook, according to Gottlieb, is like the neighborhood block party: you know everyone, more or less; some have lived near you for years; others are friends of friends; yet others you know by face or reputation.

For job search, LinkedIn is generally your best bet. It’s rapidly gaining ground on resumes as the way employers find candidates. Over 90% of recruiters use it; 75% of managers look at LinkedIn profiles; and 85% of employers say that having a positive online reputations influences their hiring decisions. You can create a profile with your job history, education, skills, volunteer work, and a lot more. You can connect with other LinkedIn users: people you’ve worked with, old friends from school, people in your field, etc. You can recommend connections whose work you know, and ask them to recommend you. (A recommendation is the electronic equivalent of stapling your references and everything they say to your resume.) It’s more general than a resume, and written in a more personable style.

Twitter is a good way to keep up with your interests. You can follow (see the posts of) almost anyone on Twitter: friends, celebrities, people in the news. You can send out tweets; send out short messages (no more than 280 characters) on any topic you like. If you want to see all the tweets on a particular topic, you can put # (hashtag) with your topic in the search box.

Facebook is best used with family and friends. You can friend people (Facebook friends are the equivalent of LinkedIn connections) and read whatever they post. You can post personal messages, photos, videos, and lots more. There is a tendency to post fairly personal material, rather than thoughts that promote your professional brand; this can prove detrimental to your job search.

Whatever social media you use, remember the Golden Rule of Social Networking: THINK BEFORE YOU POST!


About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.