Nowadays social media is becoming a key element to one’s job search campaign.Making sure that you are making use of social media effectively to harness it’s potential and benefit to you can really help you move forwards in your job search. There are a few key things to be aware of and to keep track of though for you to make it really work for you. Here are 5 ways to help you with your job seeking and your networking online:

1)    Think about which social media channels are best for you

There’s LinkedIn, twitter and facebook. There are many more but these are the main ones. Think about what you are looking to achieve from your social media channels and focus on the ones that will be most relevant to you.

2)  Seek people out

As open and accessible as social media is, possible new bosses aren’t going to come running to you as soon as you announce you’re looking for a job. You’ll have to seek them out, because it’s unlikely that they’ll actively seek you out. Twitter has an array of applications that can help you find potential employers and useful contacts. Directories like Twellow aid users in seeking out people in particular fields; keyword trackers such as Monitter highlight who’s using terms specific to your industry; and you can use apps like Twitscoop to track trends and events related to the type of work you’re interested in. On both Facebook and LinkedIn you can join groups discussing your targeted career areas, with the latter additionally possessing a Q&A function where you ask and answer the questions that will draw you into a network of potentially useful contacts. For a more comprehensive set of tips on how to harness LinkedIn for your job search read this eBook: 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips.

As important as it is to showcase both interest in and knowledge of your chosen industry, it’s just as important to show that you’re eager to learn and to build up your skills.

3)  Manage Your Online Reputation

Bear in mind that your employers can see your status updates so when you decide to do anything – keep that in mind and make sure your complete online reputation is coordinated well and that your profiles represent you in a professional manner. The photos, videos and groups you get involved in will be accessible to your wider audience and also when people google for your name so make sure you don’t forget this and that you leave a positive impression in all the activities you get involved in.

3)  Start networking with key contacts

Communicating with potentially useful contacts is about more than just asking them if know of any job vacancies.  It’s vital to spend time building up an online relationship with the relevant players so that even if they can’t immediately think of anything that would suit you, they’ll remember you if something comes up further along the line. By all means speak with people about your job hunt, skills set and ideal industry; just be sure not to make it all about you. What defines a relationship, both offline and online, is that it works both ways. Respond to your contacts’ online requests for help and contribute to the discussions started by them. Not only does it show that you’re willing to give as well as take, but it also demonstrates your expert knowledge of their particular industry or field.

4)    Be curious and open to learning

As important as it is to showcase both interest in and knowledge of your chosen industry, it’s just as important to show that you’re eager to learn and to build up your skills. Ask industry players for advice on your job search, use group discussions to get clear on things you’re unsure of, and read others’ conversations and discussions. You can also use social media to build up your experience and skill set offline. Even if a contact doesn’t know of any paid positions for you, you can press them for information on volunteering or work experience opportunities. If you’re actually aiming to gain some voluntary work experience before  finding a paid job, connect with the voluntary sector experts who can sort you out with opportunities suited to your desired career path.

5)   Don’t limit yourself

Social media is a useful job search tool, but it shouldn’t be your only job search tool. Combine it with both offline and other online strategies like looking at relevant organisations’ websites, going to industry events and making use of your existing contacts.