We all use social media. We mindlessly scroll through our news feeds as we read what our friends are up to. We get our daily scoop of news and complaints sent right to our fingertips. What if we started using social media in a different way? Ready to jump start a change to your social media habits and impact your future at the same time? Here are 5 simple ways social media can benefit your future employment.

1. Connections, Connections, Connections

Using iphone 6 on business meeting | Perzonseo Webbyra

This might seem like the easiest step of them all. It’s all about making connections online when it comes to impacting your future employment. With sites like LinkedIn, making connections is simple. You send someone a request and they accept. What about on Facebook or Instagram? You take the same concepts from LinkedIn and apply them to every social media site you’re on. Add friends who you have mutual friends with. Find common interests in the workplace or hobbies. If you add your cousin’s coworker who happens to love horseback riding as much as you, you can bond over the topic. If you can score a job interview where they work, you’re more likely to be remembered because you have something in common.

2. Establish Interests

Facebook Pages | Lyncconf Games

You’ve connected with a new friend on Twitter who constantly tweets about their love for journalism. You notice that they work for a well-known newspaper in your town and you recently applied for a job there. What should you do? Start interacting with them on Twitter and establish that you have mutual interests. If they post a link to an article they wrote, like it. Maybe even respond and tell them how much you enjoyed reading it. By establishing your online presence with them, they will be able to know your name when you walk in for your interview. They might even be able to put in a good word for you. It’s all about getting your name out there.

3. Engage With People

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So you’re on Facebook, now what? It’s time to start engaging with people and not just your real life friends. You’ve probably got several acquaintances on your friend list that you never engage with. It’s time to start acting different on social media. If you’re looking to really make a difference in your future career, social media is the best place to start. Share posts that you find inspiring. Like and comment on posts you agree or disagree with. Let your acquaintances know you value their online connection. You never know if you’ll end up seeing them again in the future.

4. Watch What You Do

Social Networks | Lyncconf Games

It’s hard sometimes to keep a negative opinion to ourselves. You might want to Tweet about how terrible of an experience you had with a certain company. What if the CEO sees that Tweet and it goes viral? Your name will be associated with that post for a long time. The same thing goes for posting inappropriate things, unflattering pictures, and anything else that the world can twist around. Our social media footprint matters. If your future employer does a Google search of your name, what will they find? Will it be casual posts of you eating dinner with the family or you bashing your friends? You might just get declined that job offer you really wanted all because of your presence on social media.

5. Post Things that Reflect You

Just Jo | Jo Zimny Photos

When you post on whatever site you’re on, make sure that post reflects you. People want to get to know who you are and what you enjoy doing. If you post a picture on Instagram of you reading beside the beach, people will assume that’s two things you like. If you check into a restaurant on Facebook, those who see it will think you enjoy eating there. Make sure whatever you are posting is true to who you are. Share articles that you find inspiring and connect to. Comment meaningful things on posts that resonate with you. Make sure that the things you are posting and the people you are engaging with accurately represent who you want to be. If a future employer sees you love writing, they might offer you a job that reflects that interest. What you put online matters.

If your social media presence isn’t what it should be, purge it. It’s time to clean up your posts and pictures. Delete the things that do not reflect who you are. Start engaging positively with your friends and connections. It’s never too late to start making a difference. You never know who might stumble upon your page and offer you a job based on what they see. It’s worth leaving a good social media footprint behind.