Expert Interview with Kathy Bernard on Using Social Media for Job Hunting

By Cheryl Morgan

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Job huntingAs we all know, these are trying times for job hunters. People looking for a new career, to change professions, or to land their dream job need all the help they can get.

Thankfully, there are people like Kathy Bernard. While considering leaving her position a few years ago, she decided to start her website,, to share her wisdom and expertise.

Kathy took a moment to answer our questions about what to consider when leaving a job, ways that social media can be used to find employment, and many, many more useful insights.

How did you get started writing about business and tips for job hunters?

My background was in corporate / internal communications. When I was in the process of voluntarily separating from a company, I decided to start the blog to help job seekers during the recession as a way to build my social media and blogging skills to get my next job. The blog proved so successful, I decided to help job seekers full time through the blog, workshops and weekly webinars, career coaching, interview preparation, and by optimizing people's LinkedIn profiles and resumes.

Companies started asking me to optimize their executives' profiles and their organizations' LinkedIn company page, so I realized the great need businesses had to maximize their use of LinkedIn for sales, marketing, recruiting, and fundraising. I started LinkedWISE in 2014 to help businesses maximize LinkedIn, and I also lead frequent seminars at colleges to help them use LinkedIn to get a job. I continue to produce; lead LinkedWISE business, career and college seminars; and optimize LinkedIn profiles, resumes and LinkedIn company pages.

You've also written about how to decide when to leave your job. What are some things to keep in mind when deciding to change positions?

The main thing that I tell people is before opting to leave a position, make sure that it's really in your best interest to do so. Sometimes people make their bad job situation worse by choosing to dwell on the negative, by engaging in destructive company gossip and by not taking active steps to make the situation better. I also tell them to make a list of the pros and cons of their current position to determine if it is really bad enough to warrant leaving. If you do decide it's time to move on, I suggest keeping your dissatisfaction and your job search confidential and to use the time when you are conducting a stealth job search to become a stronger job candidate on your current company's dime. What I mean by that is that you should volunteer to learn new skills, take on leadership roles, and take advantage of training opportunities. By doing so, you'll not only be better prepared for your next job, you might just create opportunities for yourself at your current company.

What are some ways that you advise using social media to find work?

LinkedIn is definitely the most important social medium that job seekers should use for finding their next job. According to Forbes, 97% of recruiters use LinkedIn either to find qualified candidates or to check out job candidates who apply for their open positions. I advise people to thoroughly complete their LinkedIn profile, using their headline summary section, experience section, etc., to establish your brand for whatever type of job that you want. On Facebook, the main thing that you want to do is to make sure that you don't write anything or post any pictures that recruiters could view and use to disqualify you from a job. Don't engage in Facebook arguments about politics, religion or other controversial subjects, and un-tag yourself from party pictures or other images that could cause you harm.

You write a lot about LinkedIn and using it to gain employment. What are a few LinkedIn tips you can recommend?

To show up high in LinkedIn search for jobs that you want (or for the services that you provide), use a strong headline and job titles in the experience section that include the standard titles of the jobs that you want. Pack the Summary section with the keywords associated with your sought-after positions. For example, if you are an accountant, include the keywords typically found on job descriptions such as forecasting, profit and loss, CPA, MBA, month-end closings, etc. Also include up to 50 skills in the Skills & Expertise section and get people to endorse you for those skills. Join multiple LinkedIn groups that relate to your industry and field. By doing so, you can send messages or invite to connect any recruiter in those groups and they can reach out to you as well without having to be connected to you. Maximizing your LinkedIn profile and growing your network can really help you be found by hiring companies.

What have you found to be the most useful social media networks for finding work?

According to Forbes, by far, LinkedIn is the most powerful social medium for job search - 97% of recruiters use it to find or vet candidates. Nineteen percent of recruiters check out candidates on Facebook and 13% use Twitter to find or vet candidates. I agree with Forbes' findings ... LinkedIn is huge for job search. I have seen many people get jobs because they maximized their use of LinkedIn.

What industries tend to benefit the most from visiting your site?

Marketers, sales professionals, recruiters, and fundraisers benefit most from using LinkedWISE services because I teach them all how to use LinkedIn for their specific needs, which typically is to find and impress their top prospects. College students, the unemployed and the miserably employed also benefit from LinkedWISE and the sister company,, because they learn how to use LinkedIn to attract employers and to reach out and impress recruiters.

A recent post on discusses speaking engagements leading to new job opportunities. What are some other real-world opportunities for finding work that you can recommend?

One of the best ways to find work is to network your way into a job. I find the most successful networking involves being of help to others. To that end, I advise people to find ways to send the people that they meet job or business leads, to forward people helpful articles or to introduce the people they meet to others for their mutual benefit. By being helpful, people will go out of their way to be helpful to you in your job search.

What are some things that people can do to become an expert in their field, and how important is being a trusted authority, and how can that translate into finding work?

Being thought of as an expert in your field can not only help you get a job, it can help you get a much higher paying job. To establish yourself as an expert, determine what your career brand should be and relay that brand in everything you do from your resume, to your cover letter, to your LinkedIn profile. To further your brand, find and share industry and field articles on LinkedIn, join and participate in LinkedIn groups that relate to your industry and field, and reach out and connect with movers and shakers in relevant LinkedIn groups so that you start to be associated with people who are tops in your field/industry.

In your personal experience, does it seem like the job market is improving out there?

The job market is definitely improving. The unemployment rate dipped to 5.8% in October 2014, the lowest level in six years, but I'm seeing that people are still having a hard time with low wages and underemployment. They often have to work two or three low-paying jobs to make ends meet.

For more expert guidance, job hunting tips, and ways to optimize your portfolio to get the job of your dreams, follow Kathy on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


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