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Can you really use social media to find, apply for and get a job? It’s possible when you are strategic and leverage everything the internet has to offer from a social recruiting perspective. By planning your time wisely and engaging with others effectively, you could land yourself a fantastic job through the connections you make online.

Keep your profiles clean and up-to-date, but be yourself. There is no shortage of cautionary tales about posting inappropriate content online. But that doesn’t mean you should create an online persona that’s different from the real you. Be creative, be yourself, just be smart about it too.

Be on the lookout for creative ways to make connections. Follow people in your field; participate in conversations about new ideas, practices, companies and research. If you engage in the right places, you’ll find relevant jobs. Find recruiters or experts in your field who share valuable information. Share their posts or ask follow-up questions that show you’ve read them. Publish creative messages to help people understand who you are and what you’re interested in.

Be responsive. You don’t need to be on social media every minute of every day, but if you want to build relationships online, you must be available. Make it a goal to check in every few hours or set up push alerts on your phone for messages and replies to your content. That way, if someone reaches out, you won’t miss the opportunity to get to know them.

Follow companies you like and want to work for. You’ll see when they post job openings and you’ll be up to date on company news when you do arrange an interview or phone call. You’ll be able to talk about relevant industry news and what you like about the company. Check out their blog and post comments or add your own commentary when sharing the news online. The recruiting team likely isn’t the team that monitors the blog or social content, but if recruitment ever searches for your name or asks for internal recommendations, your name could come up.

Follow recruiters. They’re the ones posting jobs and looking for qualified candidates. You’ll be the first to know about new openings and you’ll have a direct connection to the recruiter, so you won’t have to hunt down an email address or blindly fill out the application and hope. When a job you like is posted, ask a question or mention you’ll be applying so they can watch for your name.

Be a resource for others. Write and share engaging articles. Social media is a two-way street, so don’t just rely on others to provide valuable information about jobs or your industry. By posting the news you read and like, you’ll soon be seen as a resource and people will come to you with news and questions (or a job offer!).

Be patient and strategic. Don’t ask everyone you talk to for a job. Express your interests, talk about your skills, ask to meet for coffee or at a networking event, but don’t be annoying or desperate. Not everyone finds a job directly through social media, but all of the connections you make, the people you meet, and the information you learn will help you get closer to finding that ideal position.

Keep at it, no matter what. Don’t neglect your accounts or stop communicating when you find a lead. You may get an invitation to meet or hear positive things from a recruiter. This is not the time to put your search on hold. Keep doing what you’re doing while you see where your connections lead. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket since not every lead will pan out. Plus, you don’t want new connections to think you were only looking for a job and are no longer interested in learning and connecting.

Pay it forward. If you find a job that’s not right for you, share it with others who may be interested or qualified. If you want others to reach out to you with leads, consider doing the same for people you meet.

With the recession behind us, hiring is picking up and there are more opportunities every day. Your next job could be waiting for you on Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter, you just need to know where to look and how to grab the attention of recruiters.

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