We’ve all heard horror stories of people getting fired because they’ve posted something inappropriate on social media. It’s very easy to forget what we say on Facebook or Twitter is in the public sphere. Even when your security settings are high, nothing is ever completely hidden online.

When you’re looking for a new role, how you portray yourself on the web becomes even more important. Potential employers do look at your profiles to find out more about you. Of course, social media doesn’t have to hinder your job search. When used the right way, it can help you find new opportunities and even give you an edge over other candidates.

Steve Thompson is the Operations Director at Touchpoint Resource, a recruitment agency specialising in the digital and ecommerce industry. Passionate about helping people move forward in their careers, he’s compiled an essential list of dos and don’ts for social media-savvy job seekers…

DO write posts related to your industry
Potential employers love a candidate who has their finger on the pulse. Instead of tweeting about that amazing bagel you just ate, find and comment on some recent industry news.

DO make good use of your Twitter bio
It may not be very long but your Twitter bio is prime web real estate. Make sure you’re utilising yours by mentioning your job title and adding a link to your personal website or LinkedIn page.

DON’T use an inappropriate profile picture
This sounds obvious but I still see pictures of drunken nights out proudly displayed on Facebook profiles. You don’t have to be in a suit and tie but use a picture you’d be happy to show your mother.

DO follow the right people
Lots of recruitment companies post information about jobs on Twitter. Stay up-to-date and organised by following a bunch then putting them into a list. It’s also a great idea to follow and interact with companies you’d like to work for. A pre-existing relationship is an excellent ice-breaker in an interview.

DO Google yourself
Worried about what might come up if someone types your name into Google? Avoid any embarrassment by doing it first. This is also the perfect opportunity to check your gleaming online portfolio can be easily found.

DON’T neglect LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social media platform made for professionals. I could write an entire book on how to use it to job hunt (indeed many do exist). However, the biggest sin is to neglect your profile. Make sure yours is up-to-date and clearly explains your skills and achievements.