Business woman working onlineThrough social media, the world is connecting in entirely new ways. We use Facebook to catch up with old friends as well as meet new friends. We use LinkedIn to network with business professionals, and Twitter to keep us informed of the breaking news of the day.

If you are one of the 11 million people in the United States looking for work, chances are you are attempting to use social media to your advantage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people today use approximately two different methods for trying to find a new job — and almost always, one of those methods involves the Internet.

What to Post Online

Highlight your best personal attributes when promoting yourself. The market is saturated with educated, qualified people, so figure out the unique things that make you the best person for the job. Once you’ve identified these traits, market them online. Use social media to post about your accomplishments, your goals and your ideas.

According to CNN, personal branding is the key to success in your job hunt, and the Internet is the perfect medium to showcase your brand. Author Dan Schawbel told CNN that one of the best ways to market yourself online is to create a blog. However, blogs are common so yours needs to be a cut above the rest. Find a niche that you are passionate about and educate yourself. Provide valuable content that is search-engine optimized, and work to keep your blog updated every day. It might seem like a shameless plug for yourself, but that’s what you need to do to be recognized in today’s global, interconnected world where other talented people are just a click away.

What Not to Post Online

Of course, there are dangers to marketing yourself online as well. One slip of the tongue or quick, thoughtless post and your job search could be impacted significantly. Remember, once it’s on the Internet, it never really disappears. Avoid posting overly personal things on your professional social media pages. Good things to avoid talking about online include useless information like what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, political opinions, religious commentary and personal, private matters that should stay at your kitchen table. Maintain a presence of professionalism at all times online. If you wouldn’t talk about it to your boss at the office, don’t post it online.

Alternative Branding Methods

While much of our conversations, transactions and business meetings are conducted online, there is still a real world away from your screen. Be sure to develop a personal brand offline as well, but note that you will have to work extra hard to set yourself apart. Do your business cards printing online and be clever about it — give your cards a leading-edge by incorporating a photograph or QR code or make a die-cut version.

The Houston Chronicle recommends learning the steps of the 60-second sell. Whenever you meet with a potential employer in person, always maintain a level of professionalism and speak articulately. Your first impression will make a lasting mark.

Social media can be a valuable tool in helping you find a job, but if you approach it the wrong way, it can prevent you from landing that amazing gig. Take the time to create a social media strategy that will benefit you, allowing you to market yourself as the top person for the job as well as develop your own personal brand.

Jason Harrington‘s forte is social media. He updates his tweets and status every hour at least and every update pertains to a new advance in social media.