How can I use my Facebook, Twitter, and other Web profiles to my advantage during my job search?

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites are great tools to leverage for your job search. In fact, not utilizing these sites will put you at a disadvantage these days.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites are great tools to leverage for your job search. In fact, not utilizing these sites will put you at a disadvantage these days.

In a down economy, simply emailing resumes in not enough. Statistics show job search networking is much more effective when you make “loose” connections – touching base with people beyond your immediate circle whose networks and contacts are different from your own. Networking within the PR industry is a must, and easier to do than ever before, thanks to social networking sites.

The first step is to create online profiles which highlight your professional accomplishments and focus on your areas of specialized knowledge – essentially, your online resume. Next, begin linking to other PR professionals. Get your feet wet by connecting with current or former colleagues, and then begin to expand your network by linking with their contacts. In addition, try following key PR industry influencers on Twitter. Identify industry leaders, such as senior executives at agencies you're interested in, top corporate communications heads at companies you admire, active members of industry organizations like PRSA and the Council of PR Firms, and members of the PR trade media. Following these thought leaders will help you keep abreast of key industry issues, and will also prove to be a wonderful education.

The next critical step is to join the conversation. Begin tweeting, join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, and add comments on top-trending topics of relevance to the industry. If you are able to add insightful points to conversations, more people will connect with you and, before you know it, your network will have grown exponentially. Finally, all you have to do is reach out to your contacts and inquire about job opportunities or possible links. Ask for an informational meeting or phone conversation. Some people may not respond, but you will find that most will be open to meeting or talking further.

Steve Seeman is a VP at Makovsky + Company

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