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How to use LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., for your job search

Dan Schawbel

It’s become a fact of job-hunting life. With more than 90 percent of recruiters now using social media to find job candidates, if you want to improve your job search, or your career, you’ll have to engage on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

But how do you engage exactly?

You have to be open to linking up with lots of people in your industry, stay professional, and not be afraid to put your cyber self out there, advised Dan Schawbel, social media guru and author of “Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future” during our live web chat Wednesday.

“You should be on Facebook and LinkedIn to expand your opportunities,” he suggested to one reader.

For those who are reluctant to reach out to too many friends on social networking sites, he said, get over it.

One reader, Gib, asked: “I'm on LinkedIn but I'm very selective as to whom I link in with. What is your advice on ‘unlinking’ people you have linked with (or have linked with you.)”

To that Schawbel said:“I would accept everyone on LinkedIn because when you search, you have access to more people. Your network grows exponentially with every contact you add. If you only accept a few people, you close yourself off to opportunities.”

While going all in with social networking will be a boon for your job search, there are pitfalls job seekers have to consider, especially if they’re gainfully employed right now.

Taimour asked:

“How do I keep my job search active on LinkedIn without letting others (especially coworkers) knowing about. I have a lot of my contacts from work including my boss and his boss and just like I get updates when other people connect with recruiters etc on LinkedIn they may see the same for me.”

Generally, Schawbel said, no matter what you do to change you social networking privacy settings information can get out. “Think of everything you post as being public,” he explained. “You never know who has access to your profile so it's better to be careful about what you post. Employers tend to find ways around private profiles too.”

But he offered some specifics when it came to LinkedIn:

“You should change your LinkedIn settings so that your network can't see your connections and updates. This way, when you're updating your status or adding contacts, they won't be notified. I would also recommend that you do more private job searching by emailing hiring managers directly, finding their names through LinkedIn and their emails through a Google search.”

You can view a full transcript of the web chat Q&A here: