1. You are what you tweet. Even though you're connecting online, avoid being too casual. Your LinkedIn presence is essentially your résumé. Take time to craft your profile and describe your work accomplishments, because recruiters are watching. Also, carefully consider the brand you’re presenting and the information you're sharing across your online platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. Even your profile photos should reflect the image you want to communicate, so it may be worth hiring a photographer to take a professional headshot.
2. Do your homework. Before interviewing, be sure to do your research online. LinkedIn is a great resource for keeping up with movement within the company and learning about the career paths and expertise of the people who might be interviewing you. You can also check out company profile pages and Facebook and Twitter accounts to get up to speed on industry news and trends. Don’t forget to “follow” or “like” organizations you’re interested in working for in the future.
3. Give as much as you take. Find ways to share your knowledge and expertise. If you see articles that might be relevant to your network, post a link in a status update or tweet. Join industry-specific groups and participate in discussion threads. Be open to accepting invitations from new contacts and making introductions when appropriate. It's good career karma.
4. Make contacts before you need them. The worst thing is to be “transactional” with social media – or offline, for that matter.
5. Take the conversation offline. Social media is just the beginning. Think of it as a syndication tool for your existing brand. The best way to build your brand is through your work product and the real-world relationships you build and nurture.