The job search can be daunting, whether you have just entered the market for the first time or you are seeking a change after years of employment. Finding a new job requires not only persistence and determination, but also a sound set of tools, including your resume, cover letter, interview skills and plan of action. At Corporate Class Inc. we also teach that a well-developed professional image and an understanding of business etiquette contribute significantly to your growth as a professional and to your success in the job market. Because these tools and skills combined are all vital when searching for jobs, we would like to recommend a useful resource that addresses all these components and outlines the process in a comprehensive guide: Narinder K. Mehta’s recently published Five Steps to Your Next Job: A Powerful Manual for Job Search and Career Development.

The strength of Mehta’s guide comes from its relevance to today’s market: Mehta features components of the job search that have always been important, but he has updated them for use in a contemporary context. “Social Media and the Job Search” is a section of the book we found to be particularly strategic as it not only lends advice on how to use popular social media for advancing your career, but also focuses on properly conducting yourself within these sites so as to project the best professional image – two objectives we highlight in our own work at Corporate Class Inc.

As Mehta explains throughout the book, networking is as important in the job search as a strong cover letter and a refined resume. Now, with social media sites that lead to countless avenues of connections, networking has grown significantly in form and dimension. According to Mehta, “your online presence is a crucial component of your resume.” Not only is it becoming more common for potential employers to search candidates online, but also an “online presence” is a beneficial tool for actively making connections with colleagues and professionals in your field of interest.

One suggestion that Mehta offers for establishing yourself professionally online is to start a blog. Once you have a few posts published, it will reveal your writing skills and your ability to sustain a project or a set of ideas. We agree with Mehta’s recommendation to choose one particular theme so that you are not rambling or that your blog is not just an “unstructured journal of your thoughts.” Similarly, it is advantageous to monitor not only any personal information that you publish, but also to keep tabs on the language and content of your posts and any following comments from readers. If a reader leaves a negative comment following a post, always engage in a courteous and brief manner publicly, then follow up with the person in a private message to resolve any issue. Don’t engage in an extended and hostile debate on a site: it will not represent you or your blog well.

Mehta proposes another tip that we find to be very valuable in online networking: creating a LinkedIn account. Mehta touts the importance of making connections with anyone you may know and asking for recommendations from former colleagues so that potential employers can immediately access a professional reference. LinkedIn is certainly one of the best sites for those networking online; Mehta has great insight here on how best to use it. We would also add that while it is very important for you to add all your credentials and professional experience to your profile, be careful of exaggerating your skills: not only could you be caught in an awkward moment if an employer realizes you do not meet your self-described qualifications, but also your former colleagues can read and recognize such amplifications. Be descriptive but realistic.

As Mehta illustrates in this portion of the book, the Internet is now an indispensable part of the job market. There are countless opportunities to search for positions, to make connections with employers, and to reveal your skills and credentials. The key is to know how to portray yourself professionally online and to find the most useful networks in your field; once you have done so, you are on your way to advancing your career.

Author's Bio: 

Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc., is a leading image and etiquette consultant. For over 20 years she has provided corporate consultations, helping hundreds of men and women realize their professional and personal goals. She is a sought after speaker at national business meetings, regularly gives comprehensive workshops to corporate groups, and offers private consultations on business etiquette, dress and dining.