Social media is about more than sharing memes and catching up with friends and family — it's become an invaluable tool for job seekers and recruiters alike. Whether you're new to these platforms or you're a digital native who grew up with them, knowing how to effectively craft your profile can have significant impacts on your job searching journey.

But why is social media important to employers in the first place?

Why Is Social Media Important in a Job Search?

Each social media profile is a collection of posts, images and videos the individual shared to express themselves. For employers, this offers a quick and easy way to gain insight into who their prospective candidates are.

As a job seeker, your active presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, as well as more professional ones like LinkedIn, is your first impression with recruiters. In fact, a staggering 84% of organizations use social media to recruit new talent, according to Zippia. How exactly?

How Employers Use Social Media

You've likely heard of the term "social media screening" when it comes to the application process — but what does that really mean? While standards and procedures vary by employer, a social media screening typically involves hiring managers scanning through your social media profiles before making a hiring decision or even setting up an interview.

During this process, they're likely checking your accounts across the three main platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook and X. Any questionable posts that showcase extreme viewpoints, dangerous or obscene behavior or other unprofessional activities are likely going to raise some eyebrows at the very least, if not squander your chances at a position.

So how do you use social media to your advantage and prevent any potential misgivings?

Top 5 Tips To Secure a Job With Social Media

Here are 5 tips to help you leverage social media in your job search:

1. Keep Your Profile Clean and Professional
Instead of scrubbing your profile from the internet, try scrubbing it clean of any "offensive" content that could dissuade potential employers. In addition to deleting or hiding old posts, you should also consider what you share moving forward to ensure you're seen in a positive light.

2. Update Your Skills and Experience
As you go through your social media profiles, be sure to update your skills and experience. This is essential for professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, as they act as a digital resume or portfolio. Any time you gain a new certification or learn a new skill, be sure to include it in your bio or "About You" section.

3. Start Networking and Making Connections
One of the best ways to use social media in job searching is as it's intended: as a networking tool. Build as many connections as possible across different platforms, because you never know when or where the next opportunity could arise.

4. Research and Follow Potential Companies
Just like employers, you should also be using social media to find out more about the companies you apply to. Not only will engaging with their posts show interest, but reading their blogs and viewing their content can help you gain a better understanding of the company itself.

5. Send Personalized Messages
Finally, when you're ready to pull the trigger and apply to a position, don't be afraid to send a personalized message to the hiring manager or anyone else you may know on the hiring team. While you don't want to come across as pushy or overbearing, a well-written note can go a long way in keeping your name top-of-mind for employers.