That’s (Part of) What Friends Are For: Using Facebook to Find a Job

At first, there was a pretty clear distinction between Facebook and LinkedIn. One was just for fun, the other for professional networking. These days, the lines are blurred.

If you believe it’s who you know that counts, how can you ignore the potential of using Facebook for your job search? But before you start reaching out to unknown friends of friends to find the perfect accounting job, here are some tips to help you set off on the right foot:

Put your house in order.

We’ve all shared photos we might not want our moms to see. It’s safe to say we wouldn’t want potential employers seeing them either. If you’ve posted any questionable photos, delete them. If a friend posted one, untag yourself. Adjust your privacy settings so no one can tag you or post on your timeline without your approval. It’s not just photos that could come back to bite you either. Look through your status updates and scrub any less-than-professional posts. Never badmouth current or former employers, even in a funny way.

Curate your image.

Think of Facebook as a storefront and yourself as the product. Don’t stop having fun or being true to yourself. Do consider what it says about your “brand.” Yes, you could post yet another goofy cat photo, but think of your “target audience” of potential future accounting managers and colleagues. What interests them? Share something of value. Say something of interest. Present yourself as a professional you’d want to work with or hire.

Classify your friends.

There will always be things you want to share with close friends or family, but not the whole world. Fortunately, Facebook allows you to target individual posts. Start by creating a friend list just for coworkers. Then, each time you share, use the drop-down menu next to the “Post” button to specify who can ­— and can’t — view it.

Mine your network.

The search field in Facebook can help you find more than just long-lost friends from middle school. Choose a company you’d like to work for and type “people who work at” into the search bar. Don’t be shy about tactfully reaching out to friends of friends to find out how they like their employer and get inside advice on applying for jobs there. Once you’ve done that, go back and type “people who worked at” to find virtually everyone who used to work there. They could have good insights and tips, too.

Take advantage of apps.

Specialty apps are a great way of using Facebook to find a job. Jobvite helps you find openings, apply for jobs and refer friends — all from within Facebook. You can even check the current status of a job application. Don’t worry; nobody will see any activity from within the app unless you specifically ask for it. BranchOut is the largest professional community on Facebook. It lets you create a separate Professional Timeline, showcasing your professional skills and expertise.

Share your job hunting.

Update your Facebook status frequently to let everyone know how your job search is going. What accounting trends are you learning about? These updates will keep your friends and family involved. They want to help you succeed. You never know where your connections might lead.

Participate in groups.

Professional Facebook groups are a great place to get career advice and discuss job leads, but you have to be active to get the full benefits. Participate in or start discussions. Post accounting-related links — for example, what accounting developments are you most excited about or interested in? Moderate a section of the group. Once you’re an established member, send friend requests to members.

According to a survey by our company, 35 percent of executives plan to use social networking sites such as Facebook to recruit employees. Get serious about using Facebook to find a job and start collecting those “Likes” from friends and potential employers.

How have you used Facebook in your job search? Post your ideas in the comments.

Related post: Using LinkedIn to Find a Job