Most of us use social media in our personal lives, but it can also be an important tool in your job search strategy. Studies show that 92% of recruiters are using social media to hire and that’s not only to advertise a position. Three out of four hiring managers will check out a candidate’s social profiles.

Social Media to Find a Job

Social media is not the only way you should go about finding a job, but it can be tremendously helpful, especially with networking, spreading the word about your job search and communicating your personal brand.

How Do You Want the World to See You?

Your personal brand is how you want to be seen by others; think of it as your public image. A personal brand effectively communicates what you can do in the workforce, how you can contribute to a company and how your skills and talents can add value to an organization. Consistency is key here, so making sure you are expressing the same message across multiple platforms is important.

Think about the Dolly Parton challenge that swept the Internet earlier this year when the music icon shared this Instagram post.

Dolly Parton Instagram

She captioned it, “Get you a woman who can do it all.” The post of a collage of Dolly’s four personas – one for each of the four popular social media platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Tinder – inspired celebrities, influencers, brands and people to post their own versions. It’s a pretty accurate reflection of how we change up our personal presentation online based on the channel.

No offense to the woman who wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” on the same day, but I’d argue that portraying yourself in different lights across multiple social media platforms is exactly what someone searching for a job should not do.

When you are communicating your brand, it’s essential to show personality but also consistency. You want to make sure all of your contact points (such as your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles) are consistent with the image you want to convey to possible employers.

You can almost bet that hiring managers will look up applicants on search engines. So, Google yourself to see what they will see. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to remove anything questionable from a search engine but it’s possible to push it lower in the results by adding positive entries.

Take a close look at your Facebook page. Even if you think it’s private, it’s not unheard of for a potential employer to become friends with one of your friends and gain access to your page. Use the grandmother test that some HR professionals recommend: If you are showing or saying anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see, take it down. The same goes for friends’ posts that mention or tag you. Taking control of your online profile is a good strategy to employ, not just in times of job search.

Personal Brand

Use a Website to Become a Resource

A personal website can be an effective way to communicate who you are and spread your message to a farther reach. It takes your personal brand to the next level, beyond the standard resume and LinkedIn profile. If you don’t yet have a website yet, why not create one to showcase yourself? There are lots of free platforms to choose from such as WordPress, Wix and Weebly that are easy to use even if you aren’t technically inclined.

If it’s relevant to your industry, write a blog or add an image gallery or project portfolio to show your expertise. I once had a client Lucy (not her real name) who worked in marketing and utilized her personal website as a selling platform for herself. She would write about the latest trends in marketing, as well as tactics that she had used in the past that had worked well for her. By putting herself out there as a consistent voice that other marketers could turn to for advice and ideas, she became an industry thought leader and received a job offer.

Lucy isn’t alone. A survey by .ME linking personal websites and career success revealed that nearly half of responders cite job offers as a benefit of having a personal website, in addition to professional recognition and networking opportunities. A whopping 61% say they’ve received a job offer because of their personal blog. A website is your vehicle for putting your voice out there and having it heard as you become a valuable resource for people.

Social Media

Put the Social in Social Media

Social media works tremendously well for networking, a part of the job search strategy that a lot of people struggle with. It’s never been easier to connect with people from your past, present and future thanks to social media. You never know where a new connection might lead!

LinkedIn is especially important for connecting with other professionals in the industry you are looking to get hired into. Reach out to people who work at the companies or in the industries you are interested in, and send them a personal message (be sure to customize it instead of using the default template) explaining your situation. Connect with previous colleagues to see where they are today or how their role may have changed since you last worked together.

The more connections you have, the more leverage you have in your job search. It is much more effective to enter into an application process or job interview with a company when you already have people in your corner who can vouch for you.

Related: 4 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Work for You

If there’s someone you admire professionally and would like to know better, use social media to get in touch. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter and post comments that add value and get you noticed. Retweet tweets that speak to you.

A Blank Slate

Social media platforms can be a blank slate for your job search strategy. They give you an opportunity to put yourself out there and share your point of view.

Some of us are lucky enough in life to find jobs who let us play out our purpose in life through our positions. If you haven’t quite figured out what you are on this Earth to do, our comprehensive, individualized career discovery program will help you evaluate a wide range of career factors – your talents, aptitudes, interests, values and more – to discover the career that’s right for you.

If you are already laser focused on a career or industry, it’s time to take these tactical steps on social media. Get more tips on conducting your job search strategy like a pro in our e-book Job Search Strategies: Reach Beyond the Obvious.

Download our Job Search Strategy E-book