You use social media right? I bet you’re on it now, scrolling between this article and your Facebook feed while simultaneously tilting your screen away from your boss’ eyesight. (I see you there.)
Well, while you’re on it, why not make some moves in the right direction? Yes, there’s such a thing as using social media to boost your career—and I have 13 things you can do today that’ll make you a better candidate, employee, and manager.
1. Follow Publications in Your Industry
This is the easiest way to bring industry news, trends, and updates right to you—just “like” their pages and watch your newsfeed fill with articles, videos, and discussions. Then you can use that knowledge to impress your boss, co-workers, or an interviewer.
2. Follow Influencers in Your Industry
Get some daily doses of advice and guidance (and even expand your professional network) by following big guys in your field.
Or, check out these important peeps on Twitter and LinkedIn for some general career tips.
3. Then Share Their Stuff
When you share, comment, or like something, people see it. Which means you can start to build your personal brand and become a thought leader in your space with the click of a button.
Find articles or posts that inspire you, express your thoughts (better than you can), or make you ask questions. Share them, comment with your thoughts, or tag people who might also like them. The more good stuff you attach to your name, the more reputable you’ll look.
4. Get a Professional Photo
Is your LinkedIn photo a blurry zoom-in of your face in a crowd of people? Trade it out with a clear image of you in front a simple background.
Does your Facebook profile pic feature one too many drinks? Swap it out with something more daytime appropriate. Does your Twitter lack a photo of you? Add one—it means all the difference when hiring managers see your face.
5. Go All Out
Just because you have to professionalize your profiles doesn’t mean they have to be bland. Add a fun yet polished background photo to both Twitter and LinkedIn.
6. Write a Personal Bio
Yes, this is super important to putting on a good online face. Luckily, we have plenty of useful templates for LinkedIn and Twitter so you don’t have to spend hours crafting the perfect one.
7. Like Other People’s Stuff
Did your colleague write an article on Pulse? Share it and tag him or her. Did your boss just get married? Comment with a “Congrats, I’m so excited for you two!” Impressed by a co-worker? Throw some endorsements their way on LinkedIn.
These little things keep your network warm, get your name out there, and encourage people to do the same. Speaking of…
8. Ask for Likes in Return
Completed a project you want to spread the word on? Share it and then add a comment asking followers to share if it inspires them or add their own opinions and thoughts.
Another idea to enhance your LinkedIn profile is to get a recommendation. How do you make the ask? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide.
As long as you’re not begging, people will most likely be willing to go that extra mile to help you out (because, you guessed it, it makes them look good, too).
9. Join a Group
There are tons of awesome groups on Facebook and LinkedIn where you can participate in interesting conversations, get advice on just about any work situation, or even network your way to a job. All you have to do is find one you like and join in!
10. Connect With Your Extended Network
This sounds super obvious, but I’d bet there are plenty of people you know who you’re not actually connected with on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Find alumni in your desired field, friends from high school, or past co-workers and send them a short, personalized message asking to connect. You never know what they can offer you.
Admit it, you do this already. I’m just suggesting you do it for more work-related reasons. Say, stalking a company’s Instagram so you have something to talk about in an interview.
Or, going through an influencer’s Twitter feed to get a feel for how they manage their office (and how you can, too). Or, checking out someone’s Pinterest so you have an anecdote to include in your cold email. It’s not creepy—it’s research.
Maybe you made your professional bio months ago and don’t want to rewrite it. Fine—but how about editing it? Cut out unnecessary buzzwords, cliches, or jargon, as well as long-winded stories about your love for hiking and fresh air. Add bullet points to your most important previous experiences, or remove old and irrelevant ones.
Not sure if your content’s 100% HR-approved, but not willing to change it? Well then consider changing your privacy settings.
13. Google Yourself
OK, so this isn’t something you do on social media, but it’s very much related.
Hiring managers Google you. They just do. So type in your name and see what comes up. Is it a really old profile you forgot making on some outdated, forgotten platform? Get rid of it.
Then, figure out how you can make the good things more visible (and the bad things less). Hint: This guide might help.
We always think boosting our careers requires us to put everything down and start from scratch. The thing is, all the stuff you do now on social media is just as key to succeeding in the job search or moving up in your company. You just need to rethink how you use it.
And if you’re still worried you’re not making the best impression online, these six rules of social media should get you on the right path.
Photo of person on phone courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.