Social networkMost of us would prefer to keep our work and personal lives separate. When you’re working, or looking for a job, the aim is generally to present yourself more professionally than when you’re out with your friends or even just sitting around at home.

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have, for many people, created a bridge between the two lives that doesn’t always give the best impression to colleagues or potential employers. With up to a third of employers now vetting job candidates via social networks, it’s imperative you know how to tactfully use these sites.

Post regularly

An inactive profile won’t help you in building a strong, favourable image of yourself. Post regularly so that you seem invested with plenty to say.

Apart from anything else, sharing and posting content regularly increases your follower count (depending on the network) and makes you seem more sociable. And on LinkedIn especially (a site based around online recruitment and professional connections), it could gain you very valuable networking contacts.

Keep it clean

This is one of the most important points – it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to delete, or “untag”, any photos, videos or updates that make you look less than professional.

Remember that a third of employers who check social media sites? Over a third of those hiring managers say they have found material that have caused them to turn down a candidate.

Facebook has quite robust privacy settings that allow you to choose who sees what – everybody, friends, friends of friends or nobody. As mentioned, you can also “untag” embarrassing photos and alter who’s allowed to post to your timeline. Look into Google+’s circles system and search through your interactions on Twitter.

Don’t delete your profile!

With it being so easy to trip up on social media, you might be wondering if it wouldn’t be best to just pack in this Facebook thing altogether.

However, there is a strong case to be made for leaving your profile up – or, for that matter, creating accounts on sites where you are not already a member.

This is because some employers will view the total lack of an online profile suspicious. They will wonder what it is exactly you have to hide.

You don’t have to register for every site out there, but having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is almost essential in today’s job market. You should also consider registering with Facebook, Google+ or Twitter under your real name, if you haven’t already.

Use sites to find work

You might focus on using social media only for your personal life, and that’s fine. But it’s not unheard of to get a job through a network that you used to use only for fun.

Once your profile is absolutely pristine, you can begin following companies you’re interested in and that you’re applying to. Finding a job is often a matter of who you know anyway, so making connections is a great way to go about it.

LinkedIn has its own online recruitment system that makes applying for a role very easy – you often need to do no more than link back to your profile. But try engaging with local companies on Twitter and Facebook too – you might be surprised at where this can get you!

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