If you're using social media to support your job search, you're on the right track. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your blog are useful tools that can provide invaluable support to the growth of your career.
But as you move forward, remember: These tools are designed to connect you with people who can help you…and that's all. It's the people on the other side of these sites who hold real control over your destiny, not the sites themselves.
So while you put these tools to work for you, keep your perspective. Don't spend too much time hiding behind a screen instead of interacting in the real world. And when it comes to sharing, don't assume that if a little is good, more will be better.
Social Media Blunders
Here are five of the biggest social media-related mistakes you can possibly make:
1. Reach out, but remember that self-promotion is a double-edged sword. When you tell people what you can do, that's great. After all, how else will they know? But if your messages and posts become relentless and tiresome, you'll do your career more harm than good. Show some balance and discretion, and blend your promotional announcements ("Come to my show," "buy my book," "buy my company's product!") with an active, demonstrated interest in other people's careers, shows, books, and products. Community is a two-way street.
2. Become a thought leader — not a noisemaker. Stay aware of the ongoing online conversations in your industry, and when you have something intelligent and meaningful to add, voice your thoughts in a carefully drafted blog post, update, or re-tweet. Don't just speak. Speak well.
3. Don't create a page, profile, or blog that you intend to completely neglect. In some cases, it's actually better not to open up a site or profile than to open a site and let it go stale. If visitors to your blog find an urgent up-to-the-moment post full of all kinds of "fresh" insights about an event that happened two years ago, this doesn't make a great impression.
4. Don't be confused about LinkedIn. It's true that recruiters often use LinkedIn to find promising candidates for an open position. But they don't typically read an entire profile word for word and measure it carefully against their needs before they reach out to the owner of that profile. Instead, they send mass invitations to anyone with an industry, job title, and geographic area that matches their keyword searches. Make sure these three items appear on your page, no matter what else you decide to share.
5. Don't be a slaughterhouse lamb. Positioning yourself as a willing target for advertisers won't get you a job. It won't get you noticed by anyone who can help you. And it won't bring you the respect of any actual hiring managers. Don't clutter your Facebook and Twitter feeds by liking and following a thousand companies you can imagine working for. This will benefit them by allowing them to show you all kinds of promotions and products you might like to buy. It won't benefit you at all.
How To Tell If Your Social Media Strategy Is Working
If your social media strategy is working, it means you're getting closer every day to the job that perfectly matches your skills and career goals. If it isn't, then you aren't. Instead of spending all your screen time tweaking your Facebook page and wondering why you haven't received any job offers yet, take a quick trip over to My Perfect Resume. Stop waiting for employers to come to you and start reaching out to them. Use the cover letter and resume builder tools on the site to polish your application and take the first step.