Career Tips

The Mid-Career Professional Part IV: Social Media

By Dave Isbell and Kim Medlock

Social Networking is a critical buzzword in today’s job hunt, but it shouldn’t be confined to traditional connotations. Networking online, using social media tools, is easier than most people think – in fact, chances are you’ve already dabbled in the skill. Ultimately, it becomes a matter of taking a few new steps in the direction of professional social networking and you’ll find the rest often comes rather easily.

For those completely unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of social networking in a professional sphere, take a moment to review some quick, informative resources

Social Media Literacy (for those starting truly from scratch)

For insight on what sites are out there, what they are about, and how they can help you, this comprehensive summary should be extremely helpful

And for those already in the realm of social networking, but looking to take new steps into its abilities in professionalism, see these

  •  A clear and complete article on social media aiding navigation through the job search
  • And for the real advanced group, make a point to check the score of your online presence! Go to for information on checking your online “score” and learning quick and easy ways to tweak your networking and increase your visibility.

Social Networking: Four Points for Gaining the Most From Your Profile

“As with any tool, it’s all in how you use it”

  • Remember that networking is a symbiotic relationship. You will not gain much from simply hoping that the people in your networks will provide you with resources and opportunity. It is necessary for you to share and contribute as well.

Think about your professional branding: what you want to do, what you’re interested in, what your network connections are interested in. Post content and concepts that will attract local professionals interested in the same information.

Convey who you are in how you post and interact:

  • Regularly Contribute: The more you contribute, the greater level of visibility (read: opportunity) your profile will have. Update often with interesting and useful content.
  • Transparency and authenticity: You need to be honest and clear with your postings. You never know what will grab someone’s attention, and it would be an awful occurrence to catch a job opportunity with misleading or false information.

Here are a few specific tips on how you can use the largest and most popular social media tools available right now.


Using is a terrific way to keep tabs with your professional network, but if you want results you have to be a part of the conversation! Think about what people in your profession would find valuable and lead discussions about those topics!


Hashtags are your search companion. Try searching #tweetup followed by the name of your city. Search for companies and products that you appreciate. Follow those similar to you and your tweet feed will eventually become a constant resource!

Try a few of these other searches and start following those that intrigue you

#jobs #msu General words for your field (“marketing” “advertising”)
#careers @helpingspartans Follow the companies you would love to work with!


Find the companies you’re interested in and follow them. Look at what they post and what others post to them. Pulling together the big picture of what is valued to the company gives you insight into what is important in their employees; engage in conversations and posts that are meaningful and contribute. Your brand loyalty can become something to capitalize on. It is about being social and building potential future relationships, NOT about asking for a job (don’t do that. It likely won’t work).

Whatever you do, keep in mind that that if these tools are going to work for you then they must be used as they were intended; as a social exchange of ideas, discussions, and even projects that benefit all of the parties involved!

For more on this topic, just get on Google and search “how to use social media for job search,” but here are a few places you can start:


Dave Isbell is the Alumni Career Service Coordinator at Michigan State University. He has been a Career Coach since 1999. He is also pursuing a Master’s in Social Work/Family Studies at MSU.  When he is not working or studying, he is enjoying domestic bliss with his wife and kids, or playing rock music on his bass guitar. You can find him on Twitter (@helpingspartans) and sometimes he writes about compassion, collaboration, and career for this blog, which he owns and begs other Spartans to write for.

Kim Medlock is a Michigan State University alumnae with degrees in Professional Writing and English. She works as a marketing writer by day, but fancies herself a creative writer by weekend. As a Lansing native who has always preferred writing as an artistic medium — she remains passionately in love with both of these things.



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