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How do I respond to potential employers on social media?

Social media such as LinkedIn offer opportunities to connect with would-be employers.

MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

The question

I just finished a round 2 interview this week. Someone who interviewed me in round 1 (many months ago) just added me on LinkedIn. Her name was mentioned in the round 2 interviews, and I was told I had good feedback from her – how should I interpret this? Or should I not think too much about this?

The answer

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This request to connect is a good sign. It suggests that this woman is interested in keeping in touch either based on the current position, or for upcoming opportunities.

With the dominance of social media in many work environments today, social media etiquette has become increasingly important for job seekers. Here are some of thumb that I always recommend to job candidates:

When connecting personally with potential employers on social media, consider this: Nowadays, Facebook "friending" is often reserved for family and friends, not for professional networking. To play it safe, avoid sending out friend requests to employers at your target company (unless they have a corporate account/profile). Also check to see if the company has a Facebook page that you can "like." Get the inside scoop on company culture, initiatives, and events, so you can better tailor your résumé and interview responses.

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool meant for public broadcast, so unless your target contacts have activated privacy settings, "follow" them at any stage during the job searching process.

On LinkedIn profiles, see if your target employers are open to receiving connection requests, and if they've listed an e-mail address or phone number. If they welcome general networking, go ahead and send a request to connect. Also join relevant LinkedIn groups, actively contribute to conversations, and "follow" influential industry figures. This will help you stand out from the crowd.

Your engagement with a company in the social media space demonstrates your passion for that organization. This can give you an edge over other equally qualified candidates. So, read company blogs, subscribe to e-newsletters/RSS feeds, answer polls, "like" posts and make insightful comments. Be genuine and polite at all times – what you say becomes public information and it's in writing (your current or future boss could be reading it)! Imagine working for one company and bad-mouthing its competitor online, only to find yourself targeting that same competitor for a future job.

What does your social media footprint look like? Are your profiles up-to-date? Proof read them for spelling mistakes, and ensure your photos (tagged or uploaded ones) are "boss-friendly." Remember, your social media profile pictures can be viewed publicly, so opt for a professional image across all platforms when job hunting.

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In building your career within today's social media world, remember that sharing is good, but strategic sharing is even better!

Julie Labrie is the vice-president of BlueSky Personnel Solutions.

Do you have a question on careers, labour law or management? Send it in to our panel of experts, which includes career coaches, a recruitment expert and an employment lawyer: careerquestion@globeandmail.com. Please be advised that while The Globe and Mail may publish your submission, your name and address will be kept confidential.

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About the Author
Globe Careers recruitment expert

Julie is the president of BlueSky Personnel Solutions. After 14 years of recruiting top talent, she is a veteran in her field. Fluent in both English and French, Julie also provides bilingual placement and expertise. She works closely with both business and HR executives and job candidates, and can offer insights into the strategies, nuances and psychology of the hiring process. More

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