The most successful job seekers combine tried and true principles with a strategic use of tools—including relatively new resources like social media. The importance of social media has only increased as working remotely has made in-person networking more sparse.  If you’ve been at your current job for a number of years, you may not have used social media at all in your previous job search. Here are five steps to making social media work for you:

  1. Stay engaged. Keep an active presence on your professional social media platforms. What “active” looks like will vary from person to person. If checking in once a week is what’s sustainable for you, stick with it. It’s much better to post and respond once a week consistently than several times a day for a week, then go dormant for months at a time.

  2. Add Value. If you only reach out when you want something, people will learn to be leery of your posts. They may even tune them out altogether. Share interesting articles. Celebrate others’ successes. When you are a positive member of the community, people are more inclined to help you.

  3. Spread the word. Provided your search is public, social media can be an excellent place to let others know that you are looking for new opportunities. Take care to keep your tone upbeat. Don’t bemoan the obstacles to finding a new job. Rather, share that you are looking forward to taking the next step in your career. One practical tip: double check your privacy settings and make sure your post is sharable so those in your network can amplify your message.

  4. Create connection. Affinity groups on LinkedIn and other platforms are powerful networking tools. They can help you stay abreast of the latest trends in your industry, grow your skills, find like-minded collaborators, and hear about new opportunities.

  5. Do your homework. Social media provides insight into a company when you are crafting a cover letter or preparing for an interview. Notice what their posts tell you about their newest initiatives, organizational values, and institutional culture. It can also help you see connections at the company you didn’t realize you had.