Admit it! I am sure most of you have stalked friends (or maybe strangers) on Facebook before.

Well social media stalking does not have to be this unproductive skill of our generation. It is time we put those skills to good use. Here are two constructive ways to use your social media stalking skills that may help you advance instead of procrastinate:

1. Job Hunting: First of all if you aren’t on LinkedIn, take a break from this post and sign up! LinkedIn is a fantastic way to “stalk” your way to interview or application prep. What do I mean by this? Let’s go over some do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn.

  • Do: Connect with people  you actually know by sending out a PERSONALIZED invitation.
  • Don’t: Connect with people you don’t know by claiming you were friends.
  • Do: Follow a company you are interested in working for. Familiarize yourself with the people who work there. Find commonalities.
  • Don’t: Creep someone out by memorizing their profile.
  • Do: Find people who link you with a company to get introduced from someone you know.
  • Don’t: [Repeat] Connect with people you don’t know by claiming you were friends.
  • Do: Search for jobs on LinkedIn.
  • Don’t: Just search for jobs on LinkedIn. Most jobs posted on LinkedIn will also be posted on the company’s career site. Be sure you compare the two and make sure the application process is the same. In doubt – apply on the company’s site.
  • Do: keep an updated profile with job history, recommendations, skills etc.
  • Don’t: Treat your LinkedIn profile like your Facebook profile!

2. Pitching, Client Meetings, Etc. 

As an entry-level employee you will most likely be required to write-up a background, research a potential client, create a media list, etc. All of those tasks will require you to use strategic research skills. Well if you were able to find out that Tina’s ex-boyfriend’s brother is divorced on Facebook, you can research people too!

Let’s say your manager asks you to look up someone’s contact information.

  • First if you have a resource such as cision, get the contact information from there.
  • Second, check the person’s company site to verify or find contact information.
  • Then, once you have initial information take it a step further. See if you can get any background that may help your manager or yourself contact the person. (Try checking LinkedIn.)
  • The important thing is to think beyond the initial ask. Will my manager want to contact the person for a meeting, for a pitch, as a potential new client? When you present the information, let your manager know the additional information. Just as Tina was shocked you knew her ex-boyfriend’s brother was divorced, your manager will be shocked you took the initiative.

*Additional tip for tracking down contact information: Don’t give up easily. Call the administrative assistant to get a phone number or email. You can check what contact information other people from the company have and compare. Check LinkedIn or a personal blog for a contact. Try, try again.

I do know that research is a skill that needs to be developed. But isn’t it nice to know you have some foundations to develop that skill already? Do you have any research tips to add? Any Facebook stalking skill you use at work?

– Millennial signing off