By Khalilah Starks

If you’ve been following my blog, you should know by now that I view networking as an absolute must for any upwardly mobile professional. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are the obvious places where professionals go to network. But, more and more professionals are landing great career opportunities through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook has proven to be a wonderful tool to socially connect and reconnect with friends and former acquaintances. But, it can also be used as an effective professional networking tool by incorporating a few career savvy techniques. While you may know everyone on your friend list, you probably don’t know what they do professionally. You never know…one of your friends may hold the key to your next career move. Here are a few tips when using facebook as a job seeking tool.

Keep in Mind That You Are Building Your Brand. In everything that you post on Facebook, you’re building your brand. You’re creating an image. So, you must be careful about the things that you post. Think twice about using foul language in a status update. Be mindful of sharing inappropriate photos that may make a friend question if it’s a good idea to take you seriously or refer you to their organization. Avoid giving too much personal information. It’s quite easy to get comfortable behind a computer screen. So, ask yourself if this is something that you would say if you were speaking to this very same audience of 500 friends in person.

Post Relevant and Helpful Information. Go ahead and post articles and features that are relevant to your industry and career interests. If you’re a financial professional, post a few helpful tips for your Facebook community. Your career field should be evident to your friends. They should think of you when they think of a certain career or industry. It’s all about branding and building your image.

Let Your Community Know About Your Job Search. Don’t be shy or too proud to let your community know that you’re searching for employment. It could be as simple as an occasional status update letting your friends know what’s going on with your job search process or an interview that you’re excited about. If you were recently laid off, let your friends know. One of them may be in a position to help. And, if you’ve been posting relevant and helpful information, they will know your career field and have a general idea of your career interests.

Create a Note. Notes tend to stay on a person’s News Feed longer and you can write much more than what a status update allows. Writing a note about your plan to relocate to another city to find employment or your plan to commence a job search can be very effective in getting the word out. What’s even more effective is when you tag a few friends on your note which further allows your message to spread by showing up on their friends’ News Feeds (depending on your privacy settings). And, it becomes even more viral if they comment.

Interact Frequently. Many employers have their own Facebook pages. You should “Like” these pages to stay in tune with current events (i.e. latest company initiatives, new job openings, etc.) and comment on what you see to show your interest and increase your visibility.

Always Check Your Privacy Controls. Beware that hiring managers sometimes use the information that they find on social networking sites to immediately screen out applicants. My advice is to either make sure that your profile is professionally superb or set your privacy controls to the most private setting possible. Additionally, without the tightest privacy controls, your pictures and status updates can end up on a friend of your friend’s page. This is something to seriously consider if you haven’t critically scrutinized your online presence.

Build Your Network Before You Need It. As with traditional networking, it’s best to build your network in advance of needing it. Even if you’re not conducting a job search, you should be building your professional network, your brand, and your online presence so that you’re ready to pull the trigger when you need it.

One of the great things about Twitter is that you can follow people who you don’t know, but have common interests with. It’s often the case that once you start following someone, they will start following you. And, then Voila, the connection is made! Below are some quick tips to get you started.

Create a Professional Account With Your Full Name. Even if you already have a personal account, create one that is strictly professional. Once again, you’re creating your professional brand for followers to see. And, it helps with search engine results. In this case, you want people to find you.

Tweet Your Way To a New Job. Twitter limits exchanges between followers to 140 characters. So, go ahead and tweet, in 140 characters or less, about your job search experience. The key is to keep your quest to find employment fresh in your follower’s minds.

Use services like TwitJobSearch. allows you to search for jobs that have recently been tweeted. There are thousands of jobs listed on this site. In addition to listing the job, the site provides you with the person who tweeted the job. If you see a job that you like, it’s perfectly acceptable to start following the person who tweeted the job. There are also twitter pages that are dedicated to posting jobs like @jobangels. Check it out!

Build Your Network of Followers. Follow as many professionals in your industry as possible. Employers and recruiters should also be included on your list of people to follow so that you can be the first to learn about job opportunities. You should be looking for new people to follow every day to increase your chances of learning about great opportunities as it’s not at all uncommon for people to tweet about new job openings. And, don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections if you see a great opportunity.

Post Relevant and Helpful Information. Just like Facebook, you should be posting information related to your career field that you find useful and interesting. It shows your interest level and further establishes your career brand.

Is there a way that you’re using social networking to enhance your job search or professional networking opportunities? I’d love to hear your story!