How to Network on Social Media


Getting a job isn’t just about what you know; it’s about who you know. We tend to think of sites like Instagram and Twitter as places to connect with friends or look at pictures of cats, but they can also be one the best places for budding professionals to develop their career. One national survey found that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. Your social profiles can either be a powerful networking tool -- or the reason you didn’t get the job.

How to Get a Job on LinkedIn

As the Internet’s premiere job search platform on social media, LinkedIn is the perfect place to start your networking. You can begin by digging up a couple of profiles for businesses in an industry you’d like to work in. If you’re not sure what industries you should be looking into, take a look at our career planning resources.

Don’t just look at industries. Take a look at people in those industries, what they’re talking about, and who they are connected to. Better yet, see if any of those people are connected to people you already know who can make an introduction for you.

After you have a few prospective people picked out, it’s time to get social! The best way to use LinkedIn for job hunting isn’t to force your resume on unsuspecting victims. Social media networking is about reciprocal social interaction and recognizing that relationships are built gradually. If you don’t know the person who you’re requesting to connect with, the least you can do is to replace the default “I’d like to add you on LinkedIn” prompt with a short personal note.

Another place to start building contacts is with LinkedIn groups. If there’s a group for the school you graduated from, you can start building your network from alumni. Remember: every new contact you add doesn’t have to be a big executive who can give you something. Meeting a new person gives you access to five of their friends, and every link in your social chain increases your reach.

Using Twitter in Your Social Media Job Search

Twitter is used by all types of industry experts, headhunters, and hiring managers. As with LinkedIn, you can start using Twitter to expand your career options by finding people relevant to your industry. Follow them and engage with them in the hopes of establishing a relationship. Sometimes, just getting in on the conversation can be all it takes to find a job.

As with LinkedIn groups, keep an eye out for Twitter lists. People use them to connect with industry leaders, monitor competitors, and maintain relationships. For many industries, hashtags can be just as useful. Industry conferences or brand-specific hashtags are a treasure-trove of conversations. Tags like these are where you’ll find interactions that can ultimately lead to a job:

  • #JobListing

  • #JobOpening

  • #Marketing

  • #JobAdvice

  • #Recruiting

  • #JobTips

  • #SalesJobs

  • #Freelance

  • #JobHuntChat

  • #Résumé

How to Get a Job Using Facebook

Just about everyone uses Facebook, including more than 65 million businesses. Take the time to follow a few companies that you want to work with. This can help you stay in-the-know on any changes in the company and industry. These pages are also where you’ll find out if there’s a conference, local event, or another networking opportunity coming up.

Although Facebook isn’t quite as professional-oriented as LinkedIn, it’s still a good idea to keep your work history up to date. Most importantly, that includes an accurate depiction of your job title. If a recruiter or potential employer is reviewing your page, you’ll want to make sure it has more to say than “student.”

Using Instagram for Your Job Search

Instagram might seem like the black sheep of this list, but any opportunity to connect with industry professionals is a valuable opportunity. There’s an added bonus if you work in a visual field and can document your achievements on your profile, but that’s far from necessary. Truthfully, the best way to use Instagram is to study the company you want to work for (and its culture) as a way to get hired. If you happen to land an interview, being able to ask timely, relevant questions about the company can show that you’re genuinely engaged, and that you’d be a great fit for their team.

Some businesses have official Instagram pages, but many don’t. For those that don’t, try using LinkedIn to find a few people who work for a company you’re interested in. Select half a dozen employees, and see what you can learn from browsing their profiles. You can use this as a better idea of how to make a personal connection during an interview. Do they love board games? Is there a regular trivia night? Getting answers to those types of questions can help you and an interviewer connect on a more personal level.

Optimization Tips

You can increase the chances of a job recruiter reaching out to you by taking some basic steps towards optimizing your social media profiles. When someone is browsing through an Internet search, they’re making split second decisions about whether or not to click something. The first impressions someone gets of your profile photo and biography have drastic impact on how clickable your profile will be.

Last but not least, remember to take the time to review all your social media pages for inappropriate content or off-color humor you’ve used in the past. Having unprofessional content on your pages will ward away many people from working with you. Many of these additions might seem minor, but every bit counts because you’ll never know where your next job opportunity is coming from.