Four Tips for Using Social Media to Find a Job

In this economy, finding a job is extremely tough because of hiring freezes, lay-offs, outsourcing, and major competition. Graduates are entering the job market just as seasoned professionals are being let go, and there are a limited amount of positions available. So how do you find an edge and apply for a job before thousands of others have gotten in line before you? One trick that will help you stay connected without stalking Craigslist all through the night is to take full advantage of all the opportunities that social media and social networking can offer. Here are 6 tips for using social media to find a job and stick out amongst the competition.

1.      Pick the right social media site. There are countless social sites to log on to, but if you want to really connect with the people who can help you the most, you’ll have to weed through all the noise and create a strategic game plan. Sign up with a general social site that’s popular first, like Facebook or LinkedIn. Then, depending on your industry, you should research the niche social sites that attract people in your specific field. For example, if you’re an artist, you may want to try out ArtBreak . Decorati is a network of interior designers who connect and post information about sale items.

2.      Be professional and sensible when setting up your profile. Don’t use any silly nicknames or inappropriate pictures of yourself. Stick with your real name, real contact information, and a professional, flattering photo.

3.      Know the difference between posting a resume and explaining your interests. Different social sites have different forms to fill out, but generally speaking, no one wants to look at your profile and see the resume you copied/pasted onto the site. Allude to your skills and past work and list interests and hobbies that are relevant to the type of work you do, but add a separate link or page for your portfolio.

4.      Don’t be afraid to reach out. Social media is all about making connections that you wouldn’t ever be able to make in the real world. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to people around the country and around the world. Ask them about their job, explaining that you’d like to enter the industry or learn how to get experience. You’ll be surprised at how friendly and open people can be when you ask the right way.

This post was contributed by Megan Jones, who writes about the job search websites. She welcomes your feedback at Meg.Jones0310 at