Use social media to become a social butterfly — with potential employers.

Employers are actively utilizing social media as a way to dig deeper into job applicants’ qualifications. Yes, that’s right — employers check social media more often than not in the hiring process. In today’s job market, it’s critical that your social media presence paints you as a model citizen and someone a hiring manager would want to bring on board.

Once you’ve got your social media presence in order, however, it’s not enough to sit back and wait for employers to connect with you; it’s up to you to actively seek out employers and engage with them. Using social media to find a job can be done!

Make sure you’re using social networking to engage with potential employers online the right way and improve your chances of landing the right job — these tips will help.

Connect on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn should always be your starting point, no matter what part of the job search you’re wrapped up in. But it goes far beyond simply having a LinkedIn profile that impresses employers checking social media.

LinkedIn offers the perfect platform for reaching out and connecting with the gatekeepers who hold the key to thousands of job opportunities. You can search by company, title, or any number of factors to find the professionals who can help you land an interview or even a job.

Once you locate these gatekeepers, it’s perfectly fine to reach out to them. While it may not be considered appropriate to send a friend request to a stranger on Facebook, LinkedIn is the ideal medium for connecting with professionals who work at your target company without ever meeting them in person.

How do I know? I’ve done it and been successful in landing the job because of this effort. Ask for the connection first, but make sure you’re up front in your intentions. Leave a note with your connection request that states you’d like to talk to the person about working at their company. If possible, reference work they’ve done that’s impressed you. A little flattery — and some online research — goes a long way, and you’ll be more likely to get your foot in the door if you offer up a compliment or two.

Once you’ve made the connection, ask questions about the job and about the company. Don’t send your resume until you’re asked, but do feel free to dig into whether the job and the company are the right fit for you. Keep moving the conversation forward until you land that first interview. After that, your job search goes offline and into the real world.

Related: Is the Company Right for You? How to Assess Company Culture

Be active on Twitter.

Before you make that leap out of the digital realm, however, there are ways beyond LinkedIn to connect with employers using social media. Take Twitter, for example.

Twitter offers more than a way to discover content. It provides a place where you can position yourself as a thought leader, assess potential employers’ company culture, and make valuable connections with other professionals.

Start by researching companies to see if they have Twitter handles dedicated to recruiting. Many smart companies are getting on board with this, and it’s important that you get on that ship too. Look up all the companies on your list of target employers and check to see if they have a handle dedicated to their recruiting efforts. If they do, follow that handle and keep tabs on what’s being posted.

In addition to following these Twitter handles, it’s also perfectly acceptable to connect with recruiters, thought leaders, and relevant hiring managers who work at those companies. Start out in stealth mode by simply liking, retweeting, or otherwise engaging with their posts. Don’t overdo it, though, or you’ll look like a crazed fan, and that’s never good.

Interact with two or three tweets before taking the next step. Reach out to those who work at your dream companies and let them know how much you appreciate their posts. Get the conversation started and then explain your interest in working with them. It’s always good to mention that you’d welcome learning from their experience — once again, a little flattery goes a long way.

Once you’ve established a rapport, you can direct them back to your LinkedIn profile to learn more. By this point you’ll have either scared them off or connected on a level of mutual respect. If you’ve done things right and achieved the latter of those two objectives, you’ll benefit once you apply for a job by ending up top of mind.

Utilize your connections.

This works across all channels, even Facebook and other sites that aren’t traditionally viewed as professional. Your connections all have other connections, and it just might be the case that one of those is with an employee at a company you’re interested in.

Reach out to your network, especially those you know who work for employers you’re targeting. Ask them about what it’s like to work for their employer and then follow up by inquiring into what insight they might have into the position you’re considering.

Related: The 8 Best Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

As they begin to open up, try to get an idea of if they’d be willing to make an introduction. That’s the key here. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, or any number of other social media channels, a connection vouching for you can help start the conversation with a potential employer much faster than if you go it alone.

Have you ever heard the song lyric “I get by with a little help from my friends”? That lyric rings true for using social media to connect with employers and find a job. A social media nod from one of your connections serves as a sort of mini-recommendation, so use it to your advantage if you’re fortunate to gain one.

Don’t, however, cause a disadvantage for the person making the connection for you. Be ready to go all in once the connection is made, and be sure to say thank you … again and again … especially if you land the job. Be ready to perform at the highest of levels if you end up ultimately landing the gig.

What are you waiting for?

If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously online right now, unless, of course, someone printed this article out for you on actual paper. But who does that these days?

So why waste any more time? Start by following TopResume on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels to keep up with career tips and advice, and then take it from there.

Make sure your social media profiles are fleshed out and align with your current job goals to ensure that your personal brand is well represented, and then begin networking. Make connections. Start conversations. State your intention.

Do it properly and you’ll land that dream job in no time. And once you land that job, be sure to pay it forward and use your newfound knowledge to help others create the same results in their job search.

Make sure your resume is ready for your new connections. Request a free resume review today!

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