3582813518_c76eeed576Social media is all about creating and maintaining a network of people you like, respect, and have some kind of affinity with. These are the 3 key social media sites I use and that I recommend for job seekers.

1. LinkedIn. I talk about it all the time – LinkedIn is the place to find people, companies and jobs you want to learn about, connect with, and position yourself with. Here are a few ways to maximize your LinkedIn experience.

  • Put your LinkedIn profile URL on your resume, right at the top. Call it “LinkedIn Profile” and make it a hyperlink to your LinkedIn public profile.
  • Look up my post on how to personalize your LInkedIn profile URL (search for LinkedIn) so you are easier to find for people who know your name.
  • Optimize your profile to include key words that both reflect what you love to do and are common in your industry and occupation – so you can be found. I have one client who is being contacted at least once a day by recruiters. Not only are they able to find her because she uses the right key words, but the recruiters compliment her on her terrific profile. It gives them enough information to assess whether she would be a good fit, and so they contact her for an interview.
  • Get connections.  Lots of them.
  • Get visible. Post articles and updates that contribute to your field, and help make you visible to your network. When you are looking for a new job, you must become top of mind to people who may know of jobs or of people who work at great companies.
  • Contribute to group discussions. Join groups that focus on the work you want to do. Check out recruiters’ groups so you can see what recruiters are looking for and thinking about.
  •  Give recommendations. Get recommendations. Recommendations are soft references, because obviously you’re only going to show the recommendations you like. Yet if one is a fluke and two is a coincidence, three is a pattern, and it’s the pattern that you want to show prospective employers, recruiters, colleagues, friends, and the world.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn during your job search and you’ll be amazed at how people start noticing you.

2. Google+. I recommend this for a few reasons:

  • Google still rules the search world and it is likely that people will search for you on Google. When you have a Google+ profile, that profile will come up early on search results. You control the content of that page, so you want it to contain a meaty bio and thoughtful posts,
  • Google+ Hangouts are an increasingly popular way for employers to interview people. I have one client who had a group interview via Google Hangouts. We tested his computer several times to make sure he could hear and be heard. It paid off because he couldn’t hear me, and was able to fix his computer before the interview. Google+ Hangouts also are a great work collaboration tool, and a place to learn a lot of stuff from folks who are teaching all manner of things. Go to “All Hangouts” and “Live Hangouts” to find what’s out there.
  • You can learn a lot on Google+.  There are experts especially on job search, who are posting links to their blogs which are chock full of amazing resources.  One man, Tony Restell, started a group Job Search Advice + Recruiter Contacts that has tons of great posts and information.

3. Twitter. Twitter is a place where a lot of really smart people hang out, using hashtag (#) discussions to share information, best practices, and insights.

  • You can find experts in just about any field. I periodically attend #Tchat (for TalentChat) where I stay up on what’s going on in the world of HR, job search, recruiting, and employment. So if you want to keep up with your field, check out a topic using the # search function.
  • You can get to know people on Twitter who will link with you on LinkedIn and be in your G+ circles – and you never know who will be able to help you, or who you will be able to help in this network.

There are tons of other social media sites, some of which are used by recruiters.

Facebook is a site that some claim recruiters are looking at. I have yet to hear a story about anyone being found on Facebook, so if you know of one, please let me know! I do know that you need to keep your Facebook presence either private or very circumspect – because the dumb things will work against you and the smart things will enhance your reputation.

If you have a business, start a Facebook business page and post things on it related to your field to help increase your credibility and professional reputation.

Pinterest and Instagram are places where you can develop a visual presence. My friend Stephen is a designer and he uses Instagram to take photos of fabulous things and places. He also posts those images on Facebook. It’s part of him establishing his brand. Three photographer friends do the same.

My filmmaking friends use YouTube all the time, as do a lot of experts in job search. I know it’s one of the largest search sites – you can learn about just about anything you want by typing in “how to…”

To learn more about how to use social media sites, I recommend going to Mashable.com. There are many tutorials to get you started.