Social media has invaded all of our lives, but when it comes to conducting a job search, these networking sites can be like a double-edged sword. While you can certainly connect to a lot more people on social media than you could ever reach in real life, the opportunity to do yourself more harm than good abounds as well.
Here are a few good ways to use social media to further your career – and a few bad things you’ll want to avoid:
LinkedIn: This social media site is exclusively dedicated to employment, and with more than 200 million members, it is the largest employment-related site out there. So you’ll for sure want to join LinkedIn and maximize your profile to show off your educational background, experience, and expertise. Look for respiratory care-related groups to join on the site as well, since these will put you in direct contact with people in the profession. And then contribute to the discussions so you can make your presence known.
Facebook: Since most people use Facebook to share their personal life, it probably isn’t the best place to be looking for a job. But it is a place employers will go to check out job candidates, so it would be a good idea to set up separate accounts for your personal and professional lives, and then be sure your personal account is kept private. Posts on your professional account should be just that – professional. Use it as a place to connect to other RTs and RT-related groups (like the AARC), then share only information related to the profession or health care in general.
Twitter: Setting up separate personal and professional Twitter accounts is a good idea too. Then use your professional account to follow hospitals or other organizations you would like to know more about. Increasingly, employers are posting open job positions on Twitter, and sometimes their followers are the first to get the word. You can also sell yourself by including your professional experience and skills in your bio, and you can establish yourself as an expert in the field by tweeting news about evidence based studies and other relevant information.
AARConnect: As an AARC member, you have direct access to more than 50,000 of your fellow members through our professional networking site. Make the most of it by completing your profile and uploading a photo. “AC” has many discussion groups you can join as well, which will help you get to know people in specific areas of the profession. While the Specialty Section groups require an extra fee, Roundtables are open to any AARC member at no extra charge. You can also use the “Directory” tab to find members in your city or state or even at a specific hospital, and then message these individuals directly to ask questions about their facility or inquire about job openings.
Clean it up: Even if you separate your personal and professional Facebook pages, you can still run into trouble when comes to maintaining a professional image if your Facebook friends tag you in photos you’d rather not share professionally. So be sure to “untag” yourself in pictures you don’t really want potential employers to see. Cleaning up your personal page couldn’t hurt either, especially if any of your Facebook friends work at the facility where you are applying – or know someone who does. In the interconnected world we live in today, it only takes one friend to re-post something on your page to spread it to the world.
Keep your temper in check: It may be tempting to sound off about a professional issue or even a former employer or colleague during your interactions on LinkedIn or other sites, because you’ll see a lot of that kind of thing going on when you read the posts of others. Don’t do it. Employers are looking for positive, can-do people and any hint of negativity will turn them off.
r u hiring?: Not only should you watch what you say on social media, you should also watch how you say it. Keep all your posts professional and proof-read what you’ve written before you post to make sure you have used complete sentences and proper grammar, and everything is spelled correctly.