How to stand out to recruiters on social media can be challenging. In some industries such as technology, recruiters use key word searches to find and reach out to candidates. Maintaining profiles on different social networks is not enough to find a job or internship. The more deliberate you are with your outreach and personal branding, the more results you’ll see.

While always anticipating the next step of submitting your resume and engaging with an employer face-to-face:

  • Optimize your accounts’ abilities
  • Target your search
  • Personalize your message
  • Mind your online manners

Explore this guide to help you use social media for job searches:

Attract recruiters to your LinkedIn profile

Follow these easy tips to create a complete, professional profile that will show up in search results and stand out to recruiters.

  • Upload a professional looking headshot and a cover picture. Profiles with pictures are viewed more frequently. Use a WashU cover picture, a picture from where you are from, or something about what you’d like to go into.
  • Set your professional headline to what you would like to be doing (i.e. Innovative problem solver, seeking process improvement experience) or your current or most recent job title and employer, if appropriate.
  • Include a succinct “About” section at the top of your page describing your current path of study, academic interests, skills, and career goals. This will give viewers a sense of the type of opportunities you are looking for and entice the reader to continue reading your profile
  • When writing your About and Experience sections, use keywords that will come up in Google searches. Search for people who hold a position similar to what you are interested in, and mimic the language in their profiles. Also include relevant keywords in the Skills & Expertise section. View other profiles with similar career paths.
  • Ask for recommendations from your connections. Always personalize recommendation requests, and give an idea of what skills you would like the person to highlight.
  • Once your profile is created or updated, add the link to your resume by renaming the link to “”

Active networking using LinkedIn

Once you have connected with classmates and colleagues, it will be important for you to expand your network by introducing yourself to new people. Here are some tips for making new connections:

  • Use advanced search to look for new people to connect with in the fields and locations you are interested in.
  • Always personalize connection requests. If connecting with a professional acquaintance you don’t know well, remind them of when you met. If you haven’t met the person, explain how you found them or why you want to connect with them. Reference any common affiliation – an organization you both belong to, or a mutual connection.
  • Join relevant professional and alumni groups. The Washington University in St. Louis Alumni Association group is open to current students, and is an incredible resource of thousands of alumni. Your high school may also have an active alumni group. You can find job postings on group discussion boards or create your own post detailing the type of position you are looking for, enabling you to reach out to lots of alumni at once.
  • Current classmates, professors and coworkers are your potential future LinkedIn contacts, and can serve as recommendation writers for you. Connect with your everyone you work with and classmates while you are working with them.
  • Follow organizations and recruiters that you are interested in working for. Many employers post job openings directly to LinkedIn.

Job searching using Twitter

The number of companies using Twitter to promote job openings is rapidly increasing, and Twitter’s powerful search feature makes it a convenient platform for job hunters.

ProTip: follow companies that interest you, and check to see if they have specifically career-related profiles. Many job search websites also have Twitter profiles from which they post select job opportunities; for example, @ MonsterCareers. Some, such as Idealist Jobs, even have location-specific profiles that only post jobs in certain areas (@IdealistJobsCA, @IdealistJobsNYC, etc.).

You can also use Twitter to search for job opportunities using general search terms. Most opportunities posted on Twitter are designed to be easy to search for; employers use hashtags such as #job, #internship, or industry names like #finance.

Cleaning up your social media

Did you know that 91% of hiring agents use social networks to screen prospective
employees? Follow these five steps to clean up your accounts:

  1. Gain control of your existing posts and be mindful of what your profile picture
  2. Adjust your privacy settings and limit old post visibility
  3. Manage your friends and followers lists or make your accounts private
  4. Eliminate red flags like negativity about work, alcohol and other drugs, discrimination, and content demonstrating poor communication or writing skills
  5. Be mindful when posting – try looking at your posts from the recruiter’s perspective