How Social Media Affects Jobs
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26 Ways Social Media Can Land or Lose You a Job

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How Social Media Affects Jobs
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Social Networking

The days of looking in the classified section of a newspaper and circling job listings are long gone. Companies now use all the tools of the digital age to find candidates for new positions. If you're looking for a job, you can leverage social media to help find the job of your dreams, but you also need to be careful not to blow it with a poorly conceived tweet. We spoke to experts in both social media and job hunting to get these 26 tips for using social media to land your next job.

Treat Social Media Professionally
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Treat Social Media Professionally

Experts agree all of your social media should reflect you as a professional. "Most companies have strict policies about social media activity," Career & Branding Expert Wendi Weiner explains. "Keep it clean and professional because you never know who is watching." HR isn't supposed to use your social media to decide on hiring, but managers can't help subconsciously considering it. "You won't know that's why they didn't hire you," Human Resources and Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant Beth De Lima tells Cheapism. But, it very well could be.

Related: 35 Hobbies That Pay Off in Jobs

No Selfie Profiles
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No Selfie Profiles

All of your profiles should have a clear picture of your face so potential employers know who they're looking at. "Look the part of the role that you want to fit into," Social Media Strategist and Trainer Kathy Sipple tells Cheapism. "Just make sure that the head is visible. You don't want a full body shot. You want to be dressed appropriately. At least not a selfie."

Clean Up Your Profiles
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Clean Up Your Profiles

If Kevin Hart and Roseanne Barr can lose their jobs over tweets, so can you. One woman lost a retail job for tweeting her frustrations. It's not too late to delete any inappropriate comments or evidence of illicit behavior, like excessive drinking, even if it was before you were job hunting. "Clean up your accounts," HR consultant Beth De Lima says. "You start making sure that you're not posting anything that you don't want your boss to see."

Don't Badmouth a Past Employer
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Don't Badmouth a Past Employer

It may seem obvious not to post drunk pics and vulgar comments, but you should also avoid badmouthing any past employer, even if you had a negative experience. No one wants to be your next target. "Most future employers imagine themselves to eventually be former employers one day," Branden Grimmett, Associate Provost for Career and Professional Development at LMU tells Cheapism. 

Find the Jobs That Aren't Listed
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Find the Jobs That Aren't Listed

Despite the prolific job postings on Indeed, Craigslist, and other boards, 70% or more of jobs aren't even advertised. "Social media makes it possible for you to access people at companies that you normally would not be able to access through traditional means, like a website," Career Expert Weiner explains.

Related: 20 Jobs Where You Can Bring Your Dog to Work

Look for Vacancies
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Look for Vacancies

One way to identify job openings is to look for vacancies. If one of your contacts announces a promotion or transfer, investigate the position they're leaving behind. "You might have the heads up that there's going to be a job vacancy at the company they just left, which you could check and find out what that is by clicking on the profile," Social Media Strategist/Trainer Sipple tells Cheapism.

Use Twitter to Find Your Future Boss
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Use Twitter to Find Your Future Boss

Say you've applied to a posted job. Don't stop there. Finding leads at the company can be as simple as letting Twitter suggest them for you. "You could easily put that company name in Twitter and based on the users that Twitter generates, those are the users that have that same company name in their bios," Instacurity creator Samia Khan tells Cheapism. "Most likely, they work there and you could follow them. Maybe they'll follow you back to start DMing that way and start a dialogue."

Don't Force a DM
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Don't Force a DM

Following a potential employer and asking for a DM conversation, however, is probably a little too forward. Consider letting them come to you or just read their posts from afar. "You don't want to come off entirely as stalkerish," Khan warns. "I think if you've already submitted an application and you have the interview lined up, I wouldn't follow them. Wait until you get the job to follow."

Use Your Hashtags
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Use Your Hashtags

If you're looking for a job in a particular field, make sure to use the hashtag for your field in everything you post on any platform. "If you're updating a status update, Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, anywhere, put the hashtag of the title that you would like to be found for," Social Media Coach Natalie Gouche tells Cheapism. "Then also search that to see if there are job openings using that hashtag."

Brand Yourself as an Expert in Your Field
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Brand Yourself as an Expert in Your Field

All of your social media platforms can brand you as an expert in your field. "As I always say, your job is what you do, but your brand is who you are," branding expert Weiner explains. For example, Instagram's not just for models. "I've seen a dentist I know really brand herself as a dentist on Instagram, giving dental tips," Instacurity creator Khan says. "Even on Instagram it's all about smiling, so you need to see a good dentist."

Get on LinkedIn
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Get on LinkedIn

Experts agree LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for finding a job. "If you're there, obviously that's another way for you to be seen," Social Media Strategist Sipple says. "It's a great way to have your resume out there or your professional self available to all who might be hiring." Sipple advises you put your e-mail address and/or phone number right in your summary where employers can see it.

If You Haven't Updated Your LinkedIn in Years, Do It
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If You Haven't Updated Your LinkedIn in Years, Do It

LinkedIn has been around for a while, but updated their algorithm in 2019. Career expert Weiner wrote about how users can leverage the algorithm to be seen, including elaborating on the headline and making the summary more personal. "In this article, I discuss how LinkedIn has now enabled job seekers to job search in private while also alerting recruiters as to the job search," Weiner says. "This feature also allows users to post a 300-word bio about their current job search needs."

Research Your Interviewer
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Research Your Interviewer

If you have an interview lined up, you can find the interviewer's social profiles and see if you find subjects to discuss. "You might look them up on Twitter or Instagram and find out that their favorite football team is the Philadelphia Eagles or that they really love this one restaurant in Sherman Oaks," Instacurity creator Khan suggests. "I'm not saying you should lie about your interests, but if you do find a common interest, it's opportune to weave that into the conversation."

Don't Let Research Become Stalking
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Don't Let Research Become Stalking

You can use an employer's social media profile to your advantage, but be careful not to give yourself away. "If you are stalking a potential future employer ... that you're going to meet with or talk to, do not accidentally hit the like button because then they're going to know about your stalking," Khan warns.

Don't Limit Connections to Employers
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Don't Limit Connections to Employers

When you're using social media to connect with professionals, think beyond just the people you want to work for. "Build out your network with anyone who can give you a good character reference or is themselves very connected," social media strategist Sipple says. "The more connections you have, the better your chances are [of showing] up when somebody's doing a search." Getting recommendations and endorsements helps, too. "It adds a little bit of social credibility, that other people are saying that you're good at something," Sipple adds.

Find Alumni on Social Media
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Find Alumni on Social Media

Your alma mater is a resource of professional connections. That's true on every platform but especially LinkedIn. "LMU has around 50,000 alumni on LinkedIn alone," Assistant Provost Grimmett says. "That means you can find out specifically where those alumni live, what companies they work for, what skills they have, how you're connected to them, what they studied at school."

Join Professional Groups
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Join Professional Groups

Professional groups are another tool for making yourself visible to future employers who may be looking for candidates. "If you know you want topursue a job in a certain city, you might consider joining some groups that are geographically specific," social media strategist Sipple says. "If you're graduating with a certain degree or you're interested in a certain field, you can join a group for the people who work in that field."

Use Your Keywords on LinkedIn
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Use Your Keywords on LinkedIn

Decide who you want to find you on LinkedIn, then leave breadcrumbs throughout your profile. "If I am a social media coach, my headline is going to say Social Media Coach," social media coach Gouche says. "Basically, as many times as you can fit that title into your profile, that will help you be found if someone else is looking for that title."

But Don't Overdo It
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But Don't Overdo It

Use good judgment. If you overload your keywords then that will be a turnoff. "[Use them] as much as possible as it makes sense," Gouche clarifies. "We don't want to spam the profile with the words. It needs to make sense and fit with the scheme of things, but if you can fit it in there where it looks like it should be there, then you're in a good place."

Make Your LinkedIn Link Memorable
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Make Your LinkedIn Link Memorable

You can change your LinkedIn URL to just your name or a title that reflects what you do. "If you've got a common name, you might have to get a little creative, maybe adding a middle initial or even a middle name," Sipple says. "You can get creative, too, and call yourself Grammer Joe or something that really reinforces your brand."

You'll Need a Twitter Handle for Most Jobs
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You'll Need a Twitter Handle for Most Jobs

LinkedIn is for business, but most companies expect you to have a Twitter presence. "Of course, they're looking for professional usage of the social media accounts," LMU Assistant Provost Grimmett says. "They want to know not only do you have a presence, do you have a following, they also want to know what kind of content are you putting out there. Are you only retweeting or are you adding some original content?"

Writing Jobs on Twitter
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Writing Jobs on Twitter

Since Twitter is largely a written forum, it can be a good place to not only show off your pithy writing skills but also to find opportunities. Currently, #WGAStaffingBoost is helping screenwriters connect with producers by circumventing their agents. "I've seen people posting various job openings, job announcements, people retweeting it," Instacurity creator Khan says. "I've seen showrunners and executive producers say they're going to read lower level writers if they just pitch them or someone high up recommends them on Twitter."

Be Selective with Your Experience on LinkedIn
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Be Selective with Your Experience on LinkedIn

When you're showcasing your experience on LinkedIn, limit the past experiences to those that fit the keyword of the job you're currently seeking. "If you worked at McDonald's 10 years ago, that doesn't need to actually be in your resume on LinkedIn," social media coach Gouche says. "I find that having a focus really shows that you're the expert in one thing instead of being a jack of all trades."

Related: 25 Celebs Whose First Job Was Worse Than Yours

Showcase Your Creative Portfolio
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Showcase Your Creative Portfolio

If you are in a creative field, visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can advertise your portfolio. "You can show your quality of work through posting a funny or clever video you created or edited," Instacurity creator Khan says. Graphic design fields can utilize these platforms too. "If you're going to be a graphic designer or maybe a photographer, Instagram can be a very helpful vehicle for communicating what that style or brand might look like," LMU Assistant Provost Grimmett says.

LinkedIn Has a Job Board
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LinkedIn Has a Job Board

In addition to hosting your resume and offering recruiter services to employers, LinkedIn has a job board, too. Be sure to scan it for opportunities. "I actually have seen employers post jobs that are exclusive just to LinkedIn and they haven't had them anywhere else," social media coach Gouche says. "It's definitely worth going in there and looking for the job that you'd like to be hired for."

Put Your LinkedIn Link on Other Platforms
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Put Your LinkedIn Link on Other Platforms

You can list your LinkedIn URL in your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other bios so that employers who notice you in other forums can go straight to your professional listing. "If you've got a place to fill out an About Me, why not put a link to your LinkedIn profile?" social media strategist Sipple says. "Let more people you're beginning to know socially have at least a door to your professional self."