A recent nationwide survey by Glassdoor found that 1 in 3 employees plan to look for a new job in 2013, and 1 in 5 people plan to start the job hunt in the first quarter of this year.

Over the last year, we have offered tips on how to make your job search more successful.  For example, our Candidate Connection Blog contains articles on

1)    Overcoming the “overqualified” objection

2)    Avoiding typos on your résumé

3)    Importance of the job application

4)    Using other job search techniques than just online job boards

But what about social media?  We even have an entire section dealing with social media and the job search on our website; 2012 was the year of the “social job search” after all.  This facet will continue to grow as news outlets hype social media’s impact and as job seekers become more comfortable with the whole idea.

But what exactly is the “social job search”? It is taking your job search to the next level via social media – not just about cruising through Facebook and Twitter.  It is about interacting with others and making the best first impression you can via social media. Here are 3 things you should focus on when it comes to the social job search:

1)    You need to have an online presence – a recent survey by TheLadders found that almost ¼ of respondents said that they did not have an online profile.  This puts them at a disadvantage because recruiters and hiring managers do look for candidates online.  When I am in the hiring process, one of the first things I do is look for the applicants’ LinkedIn profiles.  I am not alone; according to Jobvite, 93% of job recruiters turn to LinkedIn to find quality candidates.

2)    Manage your online reputation –  Almost 40% of us manage our online reputations, taking time to check and clean up our online profiles and pages as necessary.  This is extremely important because, according to (again) Jobvite, 70% of employers reject a candidate based on something they saw in their social media profile.  So invest in yourself.  Add a professional photo on all of your profile pages, Google yourself to see what pops up, and then work towards removing or updating inaccurate, inactive or ancient information.

3)    Embrace social networking – The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still holds true in many aspects of life, but in regards to social media and the job search it’s not only who you know, but it’s “who knows you”.  Social media can be used effectively to raise both your social and professional profile.  Contribute (don’t just join) the numerous LinkedIn groups or establish your own group if you cannot find one that matches your skillsets or industry.  In addition, contribute interesting and useful (key here) comments to blogs and forums that are aligned with your specialty or industry.  Sharing your knowledge and/or expertise with others will get you noticed over time.

However, despite everything that I have talked about, I feel that I need to make one last point.  Do not snub offline interactions in favor for online interactions.  According to a study done by Millennial Branding and Beyond.com, over 90% of all job seekers look for work online, but less than 5% of them are doing anything offline (i.e. networking events, setting up informational interviews, attending job fairs).  This is a problem, because up to 80% of job openings are never posted online, so if you spend 100% of your time “surfing the web”, you will miss almost every single job that you are qualified for. Social media networking and offline networking must go hand in hand.  Yes, putting yourself out there and talking to people and taking chances is scary…but isn’t unemployment too?

By Christiane Soto, Snelling.com

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.