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10 Social Media Habits that are Good for Your Career

Updated on April 2, 2017
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Sally Hayes is a business communications coach who teaches speaking and leadership skills to adults in the midst of a career change.

Are you taking advantage of all the networking benefits social media has to offer? Here are 10 good social media habits that can help you get ahead, and stay ahead, when you're looking for a job.

Authentic engagement on social media is about more than getting thousands of "Likes".

Social media can be used to heighten your profile and build your network. Or it can be used to annoy your peers and destroy your reputation. It's all up to you and how you choose to use social media.
Social media can be used to heighten your profile and build your network. Or it can be used to annoy your peers and destroy your reputation. It's all up to you and how you choose to use social media.

Here are 10 good social media habits to start cultivating while you look for a new job. In fact, even if you aren't in the middle of making a career move, you should be paying attention to what you are doing online. You never now when your past activity can come back to haunt you, or help you.

1. Stay connected. Reach out to somebody on Facebook whom you haven't connected with online. Like something, leave a comment, be a good Facebook citizen. But put some thought into what you are posting. Anyone can press the 'Like' but but not everyone takes the time to contribute something useful to the conversation.

2. Spread some positive vibes. Give sincere compliments and recommendations to people you've worked with, done business with or whom you've hired.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

— Maya Angelou
Are you making the most of your smartphone features to maximize your social media presence?
Are you making the most of your smartphone features to maximize your social media presence?

3. Keep your networking profiles up to date. You wouldn't hand out a business card with your phone number, email address or professional title printed incorrectly on it, so why would you allow your social media and networking profiles to become outdated? If you are contemplating a career change, make sure that your online profiles are an accurate reflection of who you are and what you want to do. Always make sure there's a clear way for people to contact you.

4. Change your social media passwords on a regular basis. Have you ever seen what happens when your friends' Facebook profiles or Twitter accounts gets hacked? All of a sudden your newsfeed is filled with tacky spam messages, advertisements, and status updates that make no sense. If you are in the process of switching gears and changing careers, you can't afford to have your vital social media accounts get hacked. What if you start spamming your network with get rich quick schemes and ads for 'enhancement' products? Yikes! So before that happens, make sure you're keeping your social media accounts secure by changing your passwords on a regular basis.

5. Follow the employers and companies you want to work for. Experts always suggest you do your homework and find out as much as you can about a company before you show up to a job interview. One easy way to research a company in preparation for such a meeting is to follow the company's social media profiles, blogs, and LinkedIn posts.

6. Separate business and pleasure. It's a good idea to always maintain clear boundaries between your personal life and your work life. People who overshare at work can sometimes make people feel uncomfortable. So too can oversharing on social media when your friends list includes both professional and personal contacts. Always remember that anything you post online (i.e.; drunken party pictures, angry rants, etc.) can never truly be erased from the internet.

Do you use social media as a form of entertainment? Most people do. Just make sure you have clear boundaries between your work life and personal life. And never Tweet or update your status under the influence!
Do you use social media as a form of entertainment? Most people do. Just make sure you have clear boundaries between your work life and personal life. And never Tweet or update your status under the influence!

7. Proofread. I believe in always using good grammar and correct spelling no matter how casual the social media platform you are using is. Take time to review your blog posts, status updates, and online profiles for spelling mistakes.

8. Create a one-of-a-kind online voice. These days, looking for a new job is as much about branding yourself as it is about having a resume that stands out in a pile of bland applications. People hire people, not pieces of paper with the right font on it. Spend some time thinking about what you want your online voice to sound like. Do you want to sound like a know-it-all or do you want to have a more relaxed yet confident style? Is casual language and jargon appropriate for your particular industry, or do you need to use precise language?

Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.

— Judy Garland

9. Set up Google Alerts. Use Google alerts to monitor what is being said about you, your small business, or past and future employers. That way, every time your name appears online, you'll get links to those pages. If your name is a common one like John Smith, unfortunately you'll get alerts every time every John Smith on the planet it written about online. But if you have a unique name, it will be easier to weed out unrelated websites and zero in on those sites that do concern you. If you're a blogger, Google Alerts is also a great way to find out if your content has been stolen and posted on other websites.

10. Maintain as much control as possible over how people can interact with you on social media platforms. When you're looking for a new job, it's important that you maintain as much control over your social media accounts as possible. You can't take responsibility for how other people use social media and the tacky things they do online (i.e.; posting questionable photographs or letting loose an expletive-laden political rant.) But you can prevent that non-sense from being posted on your wall. Make sure your notifications and alerts are on so that if a friend decides to tag you in a photo or post you can review it and untag yourself if necessary. You're responsible for maintaining your professional reputation. If you want to build your personal brand, your online activities should always reflect that.

If you found this list of good social media habits to cultivate when you are looking for a job, you might also find some useful tips in the article 10 Social Media Habits that are Bad for Your Career.

(Image Credits: Pixabay)

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© 2016 Sally Hayes

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