(BPT) - Resume? Check. Cover letter? Check. Now you're ready to begin that job search, right? Wrong. There may be some very important things you're forgetting about that could dramatically enhance your job search.
Nowadays, job searches involve much more than simply submitting hundreds of resumes and cover letters. 'Today's job search requires a strategy that uses social media as well as traditional vehicles,' says Wendy Wagner, career services director for The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
According to a 2012 Jobvite survey, 92 percent of U.S. companies use social networks to find talent, with LinkedIn the most popular. 'Make sure you have a social media strategy to augment traditional methods such as face-to-face networking and informational interviews,' says Lyndsay Cooper, career services director for The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta.
Wagner and Cooper offer the following tips to give yourself an edge in your job search.
* Brand consistency. Make sure your profile is professional and reflects the job you're looking for across all social media platforms. Ensure your privacy settings are secure (especially on Facebook). On LinkedIn, make sure your profile is complete including skills and recommendations. On Twitter, link to your website, blog or online resume. And don't forget Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and Foursquare.
* Know your audience. Your audience in Facebook is different from your audience in Twitter or LinkedIn. Make sure your updates reflect that. On LinkedIn, share articles and blogs on industry-related topics. On Facebook, post more personal (but not too detailed) updates to remind your friends that you're in the job market.
* Be proactive. Use social media to connect with recruiters, employers and employees of companies you'd like to work for. Join - and participate in - organizations, groups and blogs in your industry or alumni groups. Become an industry expert or thought leader.
* Research. Use social media to create your target list of companies, then research those companies and their employees. Use hashtags on Twitter to find jobs. For example, if you are interested in fashion, search #fashionjobs. Sites like Technorati or Twellow let you search people's bios and the URLs in their bios; you can easily find, follow and engage key employees of those companies so they get to know you before you approach them for a job. Prepare for a job interview by using social media to research the interviewer and find common topics to break the ice.
* Network online. Expand your network and engage others with similar interests by posting, sharing/forwarding, tweeting and retweeting relevant articles and blogs. This raises your online profile, and encourages others to do the same for you. Twitter works well for this.
* Know your online profile. Google yourself and make sure what you see is what you want it to be. Go to Klout.com so you can see your 'klout' score, which reports how influential and engaged you are across platforms. Another great site is wefollow.com, a Twitter directory organized by shared interests or categories. Users can add themselves to the categories that best fit their interests.
Today, employers use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media to identify, recruit and check out new employees. The Internet has helped level the job search playing field by offering access to resources that enable you to identify and prepare for career opportunities. But it's also offered employers access to more talented job candidates. A smart social media strategy can help you stand out and land the job you seek
For more information about The Art Institutes, visit www.artinstitutes.edu.