From daily dilemmas over what to wear and where to eat, who has the best job benefits and the next best tech, to step-by-step tips on how to become a successful entrepreneur, social media has become the go-to platform for everything, including job seekers and entrepreneurs.

Job seekers are hitting up the social media channels of businesses they might be interested in pursuing--and vice-versa--and entrepreneurs are converting their social media expertise into profitable (and legitimate) businesses.

Whether you're on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram sharing photos with family and scrolling through status updates of your friends and co-workers--or on LinkedIn searching for job opportunities--you''ll open at least one social media platform a day on your phone or computer.

Why not turn the platforms you're already using as social tools into compelling opportunities for finding dream jobs and helping you stand out from the crowd as a candidate?

Natalie Zfat, a social media entrepreneur with over 400,000 social media followers, says she's observed over the last few years that social media has gone from an option to a priority for job seekers and freelancers.

"Social media is the new resume and people are very much looking at every social media channel, not just LinkedIn, to make hiring decisions and offers from brands to people," Zfat said. "Although this makes some people nervous, it is a golden opportunity to showcase what you are good at and create a space that makes you more hirable."

Finding that perfect job or landing that big client can be a tricky field to navigate. With the right tools, the right advice, and the drive and hunger to succeed, you can find everything you need and more using the social media tools right in front of you.

So, how do you go from family-picture-sharing Facebook user to a hirable employee or freelancer with offers in your inbox? Start by cleaning up your act--quickly.

Before you start your job search, perform this social audit of your profiles--even those you don't use often (or at all).

1. Check your walls, feeds and past photos.

Go back as long as you can on each social platform to make sure everything you've posted is employer or brand-friendly. If there's anything inappropriate, get rid of it. With Facebook, you can view your profile as someone who isn't a friend to see what they would see.

"My profile is public, so I am deeply cautious and use restraint and judgment before posting anything to any social media account so that I am not caught up in sharing any personal information I wouldn't want all of my followers to know," said Zfat.

2. Watch your language, grammar, and yes, even political posts.

Period.

3. Images.

What do your profile photo and your other pictures, such as your cover photo on Facebook or Twitter say about you? Make sure that you have a photo that professionally represents you.

4. What are you sharing?

Your posts, tweets, and photos should reflect both your expertise and your personality.

It is important to share your professional accomplishments on channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

"I don't mean telling everyone you got a raise, but for example, if you are a producer you might want to post a video that you are really proud of that your team put together," Zfat suggested. "Essentially, you are giving someone that extra color and insight into your job or professional accomplishments that you wouldn't necessarily feel is appropriate for a space like LinkedIn."

Amanda Bond, who runs a blog called The Ad Strategist, advises using your social media platforms to promote yourself as a thought leader. When people see you as an expert in a particular niche, they are likely to continue to absorb your content and keep coming back for more.

5. Use ads.

If you're beginning to see traction with your content, you can use Facebook ads to amplify it further.

"Target other professionals in your dream job or the employees of the company you're wanting to become a part of through Facebook's advanced targeting features," suggested Bond.

6. Pay attention to the channel you are on.

Each social media platform is different and serves a different purpose.

"I would not advise that you make Facebook or Instagram similar to your LinkedIn page where it is very much about your professional accomplishments and summarizing them, but I do think it is okay to put out there not just who you are as a person but who you are professionally in some of those descriptive lines," Zfat suggested.

Your potential employer or brand partner may be getting their very first impression of you from your social media channels, so put your best foot forward. Make your channel, whichever it may be, a good reflection of who you are offline but online.

Published on: Aug 28, 2017