Entity explores how social media is the ultimate career tool.

Did you know that 78 percent of Americans use social media? Well, it’s not surprise, considering that social media provides its users with a host of perks, such as the ability to share connections, express personal interests and create a support network that extends across the globe.

But because social media is heralded as “the next big thing,” your social media accounts can also be the perfect tool for your next job hunt. The perks of being Insta-famous, a Snapchat queen or a Facebook fanatic don’t have to end on the Internet. As the pool of job candidates continues to grow, “blending is not an option,” says Business News Daily.

You can use the magnitude of your social presence and your expertise online to stand out from a crowd of technologically challenged. What skills have you picked up from mastering Twitter’s 140-character count? How can your Instagram portfolio separate you from the competition? Here are five ways you can use your social media skills to your advantage while looking for a job.

1 Use social media for the actual job search.

You no longer have to go Indeed or Monster to look for a job opening. Angela Copeland, a career coach at Copeland Coaching, tells Business News Daily, “Twitter is a great place to meet employees and high-level executives.” She says that there are a number of C-level executives who run their own Twitter accounts and are open to speaking with you.

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According to Business News Daily, “Twitter can also be a smart way to contact recruiters and make connections with people who are working for potential employers.” Because the majority of people today have social media accounts, you can use these tools to increase connections or to conduct extra research. Use Facebook to learn about future interviewers, use Instagram to find their interests and use Twitter to get yourself noticed.

2 Social media allows you to create a unique voice.

Business experts call this “brand personality.” According to Forbes, top businesses know that “popular culture these days expects a more humanized brand voice, and constituents are listening carefully to the tone, vision and expertise of that voice.” Many companies, then, look for people who exhibit these qualities.

If you’re applying for a magazine position, a powerful blog can be useful for your job application because it showcases your writing technique, interests and personal style. If you’re applying for an artistic position, your Instagram photos reveal your photography skills and sharp color palette. Your social media accounts can be more than just something you do “for fun.” They can be used to show companies the unique qualities you have to contribute to the team and what you are passionate about.

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3 Social media teaches you how to collaborate and work as a team.

When you’re constantly connected to thousands of people, it teaches you how to communicate with and relate to different kinds of people. According to Reach Out, “Social networking services are designed to support users working, thinking and acting together.”

Forums, YouTube accounts and Instagram profiles are just some of the platforms used to create learning communities. When people need advice, they often go to forums to ask questions. When users want to learn how to do something, they go to their favorite YouTube bloggers. Some fitness gurus like Blogilates are even on Instagram, constantly answering health concerns. Social media helps foster a learning community and the ability to teach other people is a powerful skill to show employers.

4 Social media encourages you to follow new technologies.

Reach Out writes, “Managing an online presence and being able to interact effectively online is becoming an increasingly important skill in the workplace.” Social media sites are constantly upgrading. The fact that you are able to quickly adapt to current technologies and services is, as Reach Out says, “regarded as a highly valuable skill by employers, and can facilitate both formal and informal learning.” According to the website, because many of these platforms are text-based, this encourages literacy skills, interpretation, evaluation and contextualization.

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There are various ways to integrate your online hobbies into your professional life. Planning ahead to make your social media accounts presentable and appropriate for future employers will benefit you when you need to support your answer to the question: Why should I hire you? LinkedIn doesn’t have to be the only account to help boost your resume. You can start tweeting, snapping or posting now to start building your credibility and influence.

Edited by Ellena Kilgallon

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