There are a number of ways job seekers can improve their social media profiles to ensure they stand out (in a positive way!) to potential employers. I share the following tips with my students before they go on the job market. If you’re recently unemployed, you may also find these recommendations helpful. Social media has changed the job search process–even in the past few years.

Conduct a social media audit on yourself

Most hiring managers conduct online searches to scope out a potential candidate’s online presence. You should be doing the very same thing before applying for jobs. A simple Google search of your name can alert you to negative content about you online. Make sure you do a Google image search as well. Simply click “image” on the top of Google’s homepage and enter your name in the search box. Some of my students are surprised by what they find. Oftentimes, images posted to Facebook are not kept private if the proper settings were not selected. This means those private photos can make their way to public search engines. I also recommend opening an account with BrandYourself. It’s a free and easy way to manage your Google ranking and online reputation.

Create and rejuvenate social media profiles

Take the time to update your social media photos and bio information. To create an effective personal brand online, use the same professional photo and short bio for all of your social media platforms. Your social media bios should include key words related to your skills and expertise, and include a link to your LinkedIn page. A LinkedIn account is a must for job seekers! Consider it an online resume. LinkedIn allows you to connect with other people in your industry and create a central location to organize all of your relevant skills, employment history, professional memberships, and more.

Be yourself, keep it conversational – Consider a blog!

Remember, social media is meant to be conversational in nature. Yes, you can keep it informal, yet professional. Many hiring managers think highly of potential employees who are active in sharing expertise and resources about their particular professional field. Creating a basic blog is a great way to show your passion for the industry in which you work. WordPress, an easy-to-use blogging platforms, offers free templates.