For most, Facebook can be a real time waster—one minute you're browsing your friend's photos from Costa Rica, the next thing you know an hour and a half has gone by and you've wound up watching the latest viral "Call Me Maybe" parody someone posted from YouTube. Oh, and apparently 88 percent of Facebook users spend a good amount of time stalking an ex, according to a recent Western University study.
While Facebook is undeniably fun (and a little addictive) for personal use, it's also a great job-search tool. After all, it's the world's largest social network and contains untapped resources for professional use as well. It's all about how you use it.
Here are six steps to leveraging Facebook to land a job:
1. Create a separate professional account. Although Facebook offers lists and customizable privacy controls, the best way to make sure that no unnecessary personal information slips through the cracks is to create a new professional profile dedicated to your job search.
Make sure you use the same professional photo as your LinkedIn account to create a more consistent, memorable presence online. After all, the first thing hiring managers and recruiters do is probe the Web to see if they can find dirt on you. Keep your personal profile off the grid and make your professional profile completely public.
2. Download job search apps. Now that you have a separate account, you can freely take advantage of Facebook job-searching applications without worrying about using your personal account to login. Some popular job-searching apps include "Marketplace," "BranchOut," and "BeKnown." Each of these has a solid following and job listings. You can find them simply by searching the name in your Facebook search bar.
3. Join groups in your area. For instance, for those interested in the business field, groups like Entrepreneurs and Professionals Network, Web 2.0 Entrepreneurs, and Entrepreneur Magazine all have a solid following, filling the feed with industry news, links to free webinars, and other resources. For someone interested in landing a job in the healthcare industry, HCareers is a great, insightful group. Google your industry along with the term "Facebook groups" to see what's out there for you.
4. Like your favorite companies and thought leaders. Most major companies are on Facebook. And the bigger corporations even have specific career pages that are dedicated to human resources and recruiting, such as Microsoft Careers, Target Careers, and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Careers.
Facebook provides a full directory of its pages that includes brands and businesses. Using it will help you get the latest featured news about a company's culture, which can help you in job interviews.
5. Network with career experts and professionals in your field. Of course, first reach out to professionals whom you already know on Facebook. But remember that the site is a prime virtual networking space. Try and grow your network by connecting and interacting with new people in your field. The Facebook groups you join are a great place to find people to add to your network. Check out the member listing and discussion boards.
Bonus tip: As you become more active and start networking with professionals, remember to fill your feed regularly with updates. Use the timeline to share interesting industry news and how you'd fit into your dream company's culture. Facebook is a great platform for starting a virtual in-depth conversation. For instance, you can even download the Poll app to start a quick survey about the latest trends in your field.
Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, salary information, and a free career happiness assessment.