Using social media to build your profile - and find your dream job
While most of us use Facebook or Twitter merely to put off all those things we should be doing, today's job seekers have found a use for social media that's far more valuable - finding their dream job. According to a reed.co.uk survey of over 1,000 job hunters, more than half (56 per cent) have used some form of social media to assist in their search for a job. And while the 'big three' in the world of social media job hunting are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there are other channels that shouldn't be overlooked. Having your own blog could be a good idea if you're trying to get a career in journalism, marketing or PR, while an online portfolio could be a boon for jobs in design. If you're looking for that perfect beginning to your career, but you don't know your LinkedIn from your Google+, where should you start? Here's some expert advice from those in the know from the worlds of social media and recruitment.

It's all about the hashtag

Social media specialist Nazilla Allahiary told us: "Twitter's a great tool when you're looking for a job. You can put your pitch in your Twitter bio, tweet about your job search or even establish yourself as an expert in your field. "But first things first: when you are starting out as a graduate you want to project yourself as someone who is very enthusiastic about their area of interest - and up to speed with current industry developments. It's also a great way to identify local members of the community and strike up a relationship with them. "Make sure you monitor the #graduate hashtag, and you can also use hashtags to search for jobs based on location or industry. For example, when I was looking for a job I used #Brighton #digitalmarketing and #jobs. Just ensure your Twitter photo looks professional as potential employers may not find your Simpsons avatar as amusing as you do."

LinkedIn can be a tough nut to crack

Although LinkedIn is the obvious place for job hunters to head to, for most people just starting out it can be a tough nut to crack. Talking to the Guardian, digital engagement specialist Charlie Duff said: " For people just graduating, LinkedIn is a pretty barren area. With little experience and no work contacts it's hard, a bit bewildering, and I think it's very easy for people who have been in work for years to forget that. Of course what they need to do is get on there and add their skills - and any experience they can muster - and jump in, but it's often not that easy."< /span>

Don't forget Facebook - and your friends

It's not just for cute cat pictures, you know. Charlie Duff says that Facebook can be a great channel for job searches - just make sure you up your privacy options if you don't want any embarrassing photos shown to potential employers. He says: "Put your key words in your interests. So for me it's community, community management, social media, recruitment, HR, journalism, writing, blogging and so on." He also suggests that you ask your Facebook friends to help in your search. "Your friends are your job seeking starting point, always. They know you best, love you and would hire you, if they could. So why not start with them?"

Maintain a reputable online presence

A less than salubrious online profile can stop you getting a foot in the door. European digital recruiters Firehead list this as their number one rule for today's modern candidates. Owner CJ Walker told us: "I use social media as an information-gathering process to help me make the decision if it's worth my time to follow up with calling the candidate to discuss next steps. I'm constantly surprised with what people will post publicly on the internet in poor taste or in moments of bad judgment. That stuff is searchable. Don't put down your current or past employers online. Ever."

New horizons...

It's a far cry from the days when the only option was scanning the ads in the Sunday papers, or walking from office to office looking for vacancies. In fact, 80 per cent of those surveyed by reed.co.uk said they thought that the wealth of options available made it easier for those looking for a job today, than it was five years ago. Tellingly, the vast majority (71 per cent) also stressed the importance of keeping their personal information up-to-date on social media profiles to impress potential employers. It's something the experts are unanimous on, too. Content strategist Danny Chadburn says: "It's really obvious to employers if the only time you go on to a social platform like LinkedIn is when you're looking for a new job. You really need to keep on top of all your social media profiles at all times." And reed.co.uk Marketing Director Mark Rhodes says it's not just jobseekers who are having to become more social-savvy - recruiters are as well. "Whilst job boards remain the most popular way for jobseekers to find work, social media is an increasingly important way for companies to amplify their current vacancies," he added. "Social media allows you to network in a way that just wasn't possible before. Places like LinkedIn and Twitter are fast becoming industry standard - which is why it is so important that candidates can use social media correctly." By Tamsin McCahill Tamsin McCahill is a lifestyle journalist with 15 years' experience. A graduate of Queen Mary and Westfield University in London, she did a post-graduate diploma in journalism and went on to work for the likes of Smash Hits, Cosmopolitan Bride and Top Santé.