9 Steps to Using Social Media in a Confidential Executive Job Search

9 Steps to Using Social Media in a Confidential Executive Job Search

Social media isn’t just for college kids, and it’s not just for corporate branding. In fact, effective social media management will advance your executive career transition and job search, even if you remain private about your intentions. Follow these 9 steps to managing your social media presence while engaging in a confidential executive job search.

1. Make Yourself Easy to Find — and Follow — on Social Media

Use your name, whenever possible, on your social media profiles. Of course, if you have a very common name, then, include your middle name or some other distinguishing characteristic. For example, I always use my middle initial, so every one of my social profiles record my name as “Amy L. Adler.” Also, remember to use the same professional photo on all your public social media accounts, from Twitter, to LinkedIn, to Google+.

Social media can advance your confidential executive job search.

Social media can advance your confidential executive job search.

If you are engaging in a confidential executive search, you might feel more comfortable lurking than engaging at this point. But know that when you have made the right connections in target companies and with target hiring executives, being searchable online will be very important.

2. Research Your Online Reputation

Do a search for yourself and see what prospective employers will see when they Google you. First, log out of your browser, then search for your name in as many versions or misspellings as you can think of. You should expect to see your LinkedIn profile first in the listing.

If you own a web site or have participated in other social media, such as Vizibility or About.me, you might find those appearing on the first page of the search results as well. These should all include content that you have written or sanctioned (e.g., a media interview or video).

However, you might find a content piece that depicts you negatively. Your line of first defense should be to respectfully ask the owner of the site on which the negative piece appears to remove the page. Barring that, plan to put out newer, more positive information about yourself using your name. Typical strategies can include buying www.yourname.com or www.yourname.net and posting content that you choose, using your name and variants of it to move the negative information to the second or third page of the search results, where it will have less of an impact. Writing a blog to establish your thought leadership in your industry also will help.

3. Update Your Profiles to Ensure They Are Correct, Current, and Consistent

Make sure your social media profiles, particularly your LinkedIn profile, are complete, up to date, and consistent before you start searching (see above). Create an attention-getting LinkedIn profile headline, write a compelling summary, populate your profile with all your relevant education and experience, and be sure you have a professional photo.

4. Turn Off Your Activity Notifications on LinkedIn

If you are conducting a confidential job search, make sure to turn off activity notifications on LinkedIn and lock down your Facebook profile so you won’t tip off your current employer that you’re looking for a new job. If you don’t turn off your notifications before you update your profile in LinkedIn, all of your contacts will see activity updates as you add or change information on your profile.

5. Discreetly Grow Your Fan Base

One of the best ways to get noticed on LinkedIn is to be active in LinkedIn groups related to your job and/or industry. Participate in discussions. Ask questions. Offer relevant resources.

6. Convert Relevant Contacts into Real-Life Connections

The more people with whom you are connected–friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, connections on LinkedIn–the bigger your network for finding your next job. If you are unemployed, work to grow your social connections.

Do not forget to continuously grow your LinkedIn connections by sending requests to connect to fellow group members. You can choose to be a LinkedIn LION or not, but your connection numbers should always be growing. Turn as many of these online relationships into offline connections. You never know whether or when you will need a resource — or be one for someone else.

7. Use Your Social Media Connections to Research Prospective Employers

If you find out about a job opportunity, see whom you know, or whether you know someone who knows someone, at the company. Social media makes it much easier to find the name of the hiring manager for the position you’re seeking. Twitter and LinkedIn are great ways to connect with someone who works at your target employer. Now use the new relationship wisely to open opportunities for your executive job search.

8. Watch Your Personal Activity on Your Personal Profiles

Last, be wise and do not reveal on your personal pages any information that might indicate that you are in a confidential executive job search. For example, if you are friends with your boss or a co-workers on Facebook, don’t talk about your executive job search in your status updates.

Note: Be mindful of what you post on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Make sure that your feeds and status updates are “on brand.” Although you can make some social media profiles private, most Twitter accounts are open to the public. People have lost face if not their jobs because of insensitive, careless, or politically charged Tweets or status updates.

Does your confidential executive job search require a social media intervention? Five Strengths can help.

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng / bewinca