Dear Mindy: I am looking for a new job and don’t have the time to spend on social media. How important is my social media presence to my future employer? Searching

Dear Searching: Most recruiters and hiring managers use social networking sites to research job candidates and use their findings to make hiring decisions. Prospective employers are typically looking for information that either supports the candidate’s qualifications for the job or for red flags that would stop them from offering the candidate a position.

Since recruiters are actively using social media to fill their positions, it is important that you use social media to your advantage. Here are a few tips:

Google is your new Resume! Your presence on social media can give you a significant advantage over the competition, but it can also hurt you.

  1. Research your privacy settings. If you’re unclear about what content is publicly viewable, log out of your accounts and search for your name online.
  2. Review your social media presence (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) as if you were a hiring manager. Ask yourself if you would be proud if your future employer saw your profile, your photos or groups that you belong to.
  3. Create great content that will promote your professional image such as blog posts, articles and videos. Then link that content to your social media profiles.

Leverage LinkedIn Since LinkedIn is the #1 recruiting site for most hiring managers, make sure that you keep your profile updated and error free. Follow these guidelines to manage your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Make sure to use a clear and recent professional picture for your profile.
  2. Actively ask managers, coworkers, and acquaintances to endorse you or write a recommendation.
  3. Whether you are transitioning into a new industry or staying in your current industry, make sure that your profile reflects the skills that you want to utilize in your next job.
  4. Join groups and follow companies with whom you want to connect. Share their content or post relevant articles to their sites to share your knowledge and increase your credibility in your targeted industry.

This column is excerpted from Mindy Stern’s new book, “You Are the CEO of Your Career – Mastering the Job Search in 10 Easy Steps”. Contact Mindy for more information at info@aimresourcegroup.com.