Job Hunter's Guide to Social Media

Tips for How to Make the Most of the Top Networking Sites
Job Hunter's Guide to Social Media
Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have revolutionized the job search process. Hiring managers and recruiters are using these sites to source candidates and perform informal background screening. So, it behooves a prospective candidate to maximize visibility on these sites - in the right way.

"If information security job seekers are looking to increase their success at finding a job, they need to change the way they network and embrace the social websites and online community groups," says Joyce Brocaglia, president and CEO of Alta Associates, Inc., a leading search firm in IT risk management and information security and privacy.

"We've been using social media sites for our information security hiring requirements for well over a year now," says Michele Porfilio, strategic sourcing director for Crowe Horwath LLP, a public accounting and consulting firm. "It has quickly grown to be one of our top resources for recruiting, and has dramatically increased our reach for qualified candidates."

Here is a social networking checklist, describing each of the major sites and how to maximize them in your job search.


LinkedIn is a popular networking site with hiring authorities and is very effective to find information security work by building professional relationships and joining affinity groups and associations.

LinkedIn is a more professional site that people use to showcase their skills and grow their professional network, as opposed to their personal network. It requires a bit more etiquette to use properly. "You cannot add people randomly; one needs to have a good reason for sending out an invitation for others to accept," says Barbara Massa, VP global talent acquisition, McAfee. "Practitioners will probably end up being blocked if they start adding people without considering first whether or not they fit into their circle of network."

LinkedIn also comes in quite handy for screening potential employees and what others have to say about them, says Brocaglia, who spends considerable time looking at a candidate's LinkedIn profile to ensure that information on a resume is not in any way conflicting with the candidate's online profile. She advises candidates to be wise, thoughtful and sensitive while posting information on these sites, as information posted is permanent and these profiles strongly reflect an individual's personality.

Ways to maximize LinkedIn:

  • Update your profile using your resume as a guide;
  • Build your network through your email address book, former classmates and former employers;
  • Establish context when sending LinkedIn invitations;
  • Seek out and give recommendations;
  • Find out where people with your background are working
  • Make a target list of companies; get connected with these professionals;
  • Spend at least 5 minutes or so daily, providing regular updates/commenting on topics, submitting links to your latest articles, blogs, etc;
  • Join relevant industry associations and groups like- ISSA, ISC2.


Twitter describes itself as a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: "What are you doing?" Updating with 140 characters is simple, short and to the point. These updates are addressed as "tweets".

Twitter seems to be the place to go both for personal and professional networking. "Twitter offers employers an alternative to big online job boards as a way to find and attract a large pool of candidates," says Massa. "The benefit is that employers like us can post short job announcements and get immediate feedback from followers." In addition employers use Twitter to establish a company image to users who are "social-media-savvy job hunters."

Twitter is used to reach a much larger audience. People can also retweet user's tweets. This can cause tweets to go viral and spread across the platform, giving users as much visibility as possible. If candidates are looking to pursue confidential job search activities twitter is not recommended as what users post is basically for the world to see.

"Twitter has an ease of use and a high potential to be viral, this is great, but can also hurt users in the end," says Porfilio.

Ways to maximize Twitter:

  • Follow people in your field to be connected and informed on industry news and trends;
  • Connect your Twitter feed to LinkedIn so that your tweets can get included in your LinkedIn-"status updates;"
  • Create an impressive follower list by posting regular updates-commenting on topics, sharing links to interesting articles, news, blogs, etc;
  • Build your network on Twitter by following relevant groups, associations and professional lists.
  • Utilize tools such as Tweetdeck and Jobdeck, which allows job seekers to search specific topics relative to an industry
  • Make a Twitter list and add the companies you are interested in working for
  • Utilize the TweetaFile feature to send your resume when needed
  • Spend 15 minutes daily to post tweets and go through what others are posting in your field.


Facebook is the largest of the three networking sites. Originally used by college students, this has grown into a full fledged social networking site that is used today by working professionals and companies for networking, job searching, marketing and hiring activities. The sheer size of its massive user base has made it a popular place for organizations to participate and network.

"Facebook allows users to control who can contact them, who can find them in a search and what information they will find," says Porfilio. Also, Facebook is very strong in offering filtering tools that allows users to organize and segment groups. Through these groups on Facebook, users are able to message all individuals within the group. Job openings are posted on Facebook within sub-groups. For example, an information security professional after signing up for a Facebook account, can join several related groups like the ISSA, ISC2, from which they will be able to access job openings.

However, these groups are extremely targeted, and getting the word out to strangers or people that are not directly connected with is quite difficult without reasonable advertising and marketing efforts.

Facebook is mostly used by employers to create a corporate image, including updating users with their business, hiring and marketing initiatives. This site, like LinkedIn, emphasizes personal branding and relationship building vs. Twitter, where following someone can be a one-way street. Ways to maximize Facebook:

  • Organize Facebook privacy settings to ensure that professional contacts see only professional information;
  • Utilize the 'status update' feature on Facebook to relate current employment situation and what you are seeking;
  • Select Facebook applications and groups very carefully to include only those that offer professional contacts and guidance;
  • Search for topics relevant to your industry and become fans/friends of the people who share them or vote for these issues;
  • Join industry relevant sub groups like the United States Intelligence Community, Institute of Protection Specialists & Security Contractors to enhance visibility and build relationships;
  • Create interesting headlines and ads by using the 'advertise' feature and link it to your bio;
  • Look through the Facebook marketplace for relevant job listings;
  • Utilize the "search" box at the top of the Facebook page to search for potential security job openings which can then be further filtered using the menu.

For More on Social Media:

About the Author

Upasana Gupta

Upasana Gupta

Contributing Editor, CareersInfoSecurity

Upasana Gupta oversees CareersInfoSecurity and shepherds career and leadership coverage for all Information Security Media Group's media properties. She regularly writes on career topics and speaks to senior executives on a wide-range of subjects, including security leadership, privacy, risk management, application security and fraud. She also helps produce podcasts and is instrumental in the global expansion of ISMG websites by recruiting international information security and risk experts to contribute content, including blogs. Upasana previously served as a resource manager focusing on hiring, recruiting and human resources at Icons Inc., an IT security advisory firm affiliated with ISMG. She holds an MBA in human resources from Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa.

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