Much has been written about the impact of social media in the careers industry, with plenty of accolades for the role of Twitter and LinkedIn in the job hunt.

Of course, there’s still many holdouts in the job-seeking community. But what about career professionals themselves?

Should your resume writer or career coach know how to use social media—and what are the implications of working with a service provider who is lacking this expertise?

Here are some ways (and reasons) to find a resume or career expert that can help you get faster results and higher-level interviews—all by supplying insider knowledge on leveraging social media:

First, find your expert using social media tools themselves.
Chances are, if you’re frequenting LinkedIn or Twitter, you’ll find a multitude of resume writers and other career professionals. Here is where you can perform some quick research on their social media savvy.

For LinkedIn, most professionals who are using the service to its fullest have grown their networks to include at least 100 contacts. Significantly less connections—say, 54—mean that you’ve encountered a newbie who recently dumped their address book into the site.

On Twitter, many people look for users that have a minimum of 1,000 followers as proof of their knowledge. While this number is arbitrary, you can at least get a feel for a provider’s expertise by reading a sampling of their Tweets and looking at how often their broadcasts are re-tweeted, which shows that they offer something of value to their network.

Take a look at the provider’s self-marketing efforts.
Can you quickly discern what a resume writer or career coach offers by reading THEIR LinkedIn profile?

Better yet, if you use a common search term in LinkedIn’s People Search (such as “resume writer” or “career coach”) does your provider show first- or second-page results? If you add their city of operation, do they come even close?

What this test tells you is whether your provider can create a keyword-specific LinkedIn profile that caters to online search functions.

While many resume writers spend time crafting social media profiles, these are only partially useful tools that serve as a backdrop when you’re Googled. You’ll also want to be found when employer don’t know your name, but they know what skills they seek.

In other words, a generically written profile (where your resume is simply dumped into the profile section) won’t help recruiters locate you based on your career goals, unless it is tuned for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Be sure to ask specific questions.
When you approach a resume writer or career coach purporting to help you navigate the complexities of job search in 2010, don’t be afraid to query a bit to find out how they propose to market you.

That’s right: I said market you. The most beautifully written resume or social media profile will not advance your job search unless it is actually seen. Would an ad for McDonald’s, however effective it may be, impress you if you never heard it on the radio?

Your career provider should offer information on how to increase your visibility, both online and off, with an assessment of how social media will play into your efforts. These methods can include instructions on how to build an attractive Twitter pitch, maximize your LinkedIn account settings, or address damaging online personal information.

Remember, the job search has changed for good! Recruiter contacts, resume distribution, and job boards are NOT considered prime sources for new jobs; therefore, the more your “PR campaign” uses the free online tools offered through social media avenues, the better.

In summary, social media—like it or hate it—has become an integral part of the routine for millions of business professionals. If you sense that your career coach or resume writer is not among them, then it may be time to find another resource.

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