Jobs are hard to come by, especially with some estimating that 70 to 80 percent of jobs are not posted online.
The only social network heavily promoted as a career-boosting tool, LinkedIn, is underutilized by most people, and many don't think Facebook or Twitter play any role in finding a new gig.
Here are some simple tips for creating an amazing virtual résumé and for boosting your hire-ability:
1. Update your LinkedIn profile
It's not good enough to have a LinkedIn profile; you need to keep it up-to-date and accurate.
Remember how you graduated from college and created a profile with the headline: Student at ____ University? Now, four years later, you've probably got some new and relevant experience to flesh out that profile.
Just graduated or still in school? Add courses, volunteer experience and a kickass profile summary and header that uses keywords, which recruiters look for in their searches.
2. Join (and actually use) LinkedIn groups
Don't be shy; you'd be surprised by the number of people who will comment on posts in LinkedIn groups. Use your experience, creativity and intuition to ask and answer questions, share relevant articles and show how awesome you are.
If someone sees you are producing meaningful content, he or she might feel the need to add you. And, if that person is a fellow group member for marketing rockstars in your city, he or she might be the ticket to your next position.
At the very least, new professional connections forged on LinkedIn, even those with people you might not know from meeting face-to-face, can help by giving you advice on your job search and career development.
3. Clean up your Facebook and Twitter profiles
Sad fact of the digital age: Anyone and everyone has access to what you're sharing on social networks. Those photos from the raging party last weekend might be great for sharing with your friends, but potential employers will probably be less than impressed by your ability to down four shots of tequila in a row.
Keep your Facebook profile on private, and double check those privacy settings. Not bothered by strangers viewing your profile? Maybe it's time for you to go through those photos and recent statuses and make sure there isn't anything that could potentially hurt your job search efforts.
The same thing goes for Twitter (and Tumblr and any other social network). Keep it work appropriate (at least PG-13), or keep it private.
If you have a secret ambition to be a Twitter comedian, and you think your snarky personality might keep you from getting a job, maybe include a disclaimer explaining your sarcasm a little bit. Twitter is a great place for broadcasting your thoughts, but it's best to keep those thoughts worth reading funny, and at least somewhat mature.
4. Ask for professional references on LinkedIn
Sure, you can put "References available upon request" on your perfectly-crafted résumé, but chances are, interested recruiters will check out your LinkedIn résumé, as well.
It's quick and easy for them to scroll through your education and work history, and most importantly, some glowing recommendations from previous coworkers, teachers and fellow volunteer workers.
Be polite when asking for a professional recommendation. You're asking for someone to do you a favor, and some people might ask for you to write a recommendation for them in return. Do it!
Be thoughtful and considerate, and only ask people whom you can confidently say, "This person can only have good things to say about my work."
5. Have a blog/website
Crafting a personal blog or website is like creating a digital portfolio for all of your work. This makes a ton of sense if you work in a creative field like photography, journalism or graphic design. Have a degree in accounting? If you have the free time, maybe you should start a blog about finance.
Use your knowledge to create intelligent content that other people will find useful. Even if you're just explaining the difference between different tax forms, you're proving to potential employers that you know your stuff.
However, when it comes to finding a job, never forget about real-world connections. Who you know can help you immensely, so if you don't know anyone, get cracking!
Join professional organizations, go to meetups with other aspiring web designers in your city and take additional classes to enhance your skills. Being a great candidate requires a little bit of marketing, both on and offline.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It