While most of us are on social media in one form or another, not all of us take full advantage of its potential – especially when it comes to highlighting our professional life.

Statistics show that 70% of employers are scrawling through social media to find candidates and assess them. This is a huge statistic, too huge to ignore when navigating the online recruitment space.

So, whether you’re trying to catch the eye of an employer, boost the credibility of your small business, show off your skills, or simply connect with the right people in your industry, social media offers an effective (and essential) way of doing so.

To dig deeper, here are five ways to make the most of your online channels.

1. Complete your profiles

Being involved in recruitment, I see daily examples of either under-utilized social profiles or over-used. Nothing screams “unprofessional” more than having sloppily made or forgetful profiles. This is particularly important when it comes to social media sites such as LinkedIn.

Recruiters want to know the best of what you’ve done, and they don’t have the time to sift through your lifestyle. By optimizing your social profile to the middle ground, recruiters and companies will see the thought you’ve put into it, and you’ll stand out from the rest.

So, it’s important to take the time to complete your profiles. For example, if you’re working in the construction industry, make sure you’ve included any building and construction courses you’ve done, such as a diploma in building, but leave out the beginner’s retail position you started at the supermarket when you were 15.

Fill out your employment history and any other relevant sections, and try to keep the writing engaging throughout. If you’re not much of a writer, get a friend or copywriter to help you out. They can make sure your content is SEO-optimized. Local SEO optimization enables Google and other search engines to find you with ease.

It’s also important not to go overboard with how many social media platforms you use. Pick the ones you’re able to spend the most time on and that are most relevant to your industry. It’s better to manage fewer platforms really well than over-commit.

2. Stay active

It’s called “social” media for a reason. To highlight your profiles, it’s important to stay active and make an effort to regularly interact, share posts and update your content.

No matter what industry you’re working in, using social media is a simple way to show off your connections. You can build your online presence by joining industry groups and following industry influencers.

If you’re trying to optimize your business’s Facebook page, make your “Likes” public so others can see the circles you’re in and the professional groups and businesses you’re interested in. The same applies to LinkedIn and other social media channels.

3. Keep it professional

Let’s say you’ve just finished a course and you’re looking for a job. If you want to make the right impression on hiring managers and potential employers, take time to clean up your social media profiles.

The truth is, people, judge you based on what you post, how you act, and who you’re connected with on social media. But there are things you can do right away to clean things up.

Make sure you’re LinkedIn and Twitter profile photo is professional – not an image of you and your friends at a party. While Facebook and Instagram are more personal by nature, it’s still important to get rid of any potentially offensive posts or photos.

4. Show off your expertise

When it comes to showcasing your skills on social media, ensure the content you’re posting is relevant and interesting. Here’s what you can do:

  • List your skills, but back them up with a few examples.
  • Post samples and case studies of your work.
  • Include links to other social media channels (e.g. Instagram) where people can see what you’re capable of in more detail.
  • Link to a more detailed resume or personal website.
  • Show off your side projects.

Interestingly, here are some of the key things recruiters look for when they find you online:

  • 61% of recruiters look for qualification verification
  • 50% look to find whether a candidate possesses an online persona
  • 37% look to see what others may be posting about you (friends, connections)

But mostly, they’re looking for a reason not to hire you. Don’t let them find a reason, clean that profile up!

5. Ask for endorsements

Reviews and testimonials matter. People trust friends, family, and other customers more than advertisements. Having positive endorsements on your social media channels is a great way to highlight your skills, experience, and connections.

It might take a while to build up your endorsements, but even one positive review can go a long way. Start off by writing messages to a few of your friends, co-workers, or clients, asking them to leave you a comment. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Use LinkedIn’s endorsements section.
  • Use the visitor post section on the Facebook page.
  • Pin positive tweets on Twitter.
  • Get people to share posts on projects you’ve worked on.

However you go about it, it only takes a couple of minutes to ask someone for positive feedback or a glowing endorsement. It’s a quick action with huge social benefits.

Get more social

It’s never too late to jump on social media and build your profile. Your online presence can influence an employer’s decision, put you ahead of other job seekers, or find new clients for your business.

And the thing is, social media isn’t going away any time soon. It’s best to use it to your advantage, highlight your skills and expertise, connect with relevant industry folk, and keep your finger on the pulse.