Like it or not, social media is now everywhere in our world, even in financial recruiting. Savvy job seekers understand this. They also understand that social media presents not just a possible pitfall, but also an opportunity in the financial recruiting world to distinguish one’s self – and to learn more about possible employers.

When using social media in your job hunt, there are two types of media to consider: private communication and professional communication. Private communication includes your Facebook and Google+ accounts, your personal twitter feed, and images you may have on photo-sharing sites like Flickr or Picasa. These types of personal, informal communications should remain private, especially if you’re looking for a new job and seriously talking to professionals involved in financial recruiting.

Unfortunately, personal social media sites often leave much to be desired with regard to their default privacy settings. So, before you even talk to accounting or financial recruiting firms or even think of sending out a resume, go to all of your social media pages and make your settings private – at least private enough that no one who’s not already acquainted with you can see your personal profiles.

Next, consider the opportunity presented by social media. If you want to get involved in the financial recruiting process, you should have a web presence that shows you are skilled within the financial world. How do you do this? The most basic way is to update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure all your experience is reflected and that your personal statement is direct, concise and intelligent. Also, ask some former colleagues or bosses to write you recommendations – nothing shows your ability better than a co-worker taking the time and effort to post a recommendation.

If you have business acquaintances that are positioned with companies you’re interested in working for, reach out to them via LinkedIn. Ask them to meet for coffee, or even a brief informational interview. By talking with other industry insiders, you can learn a lot about the culture of potential employers, as well as network. Though, be careful – it’s a faux pas to ask about open jobs during an informational interview. Instead, gather information about the company, and learn about your coffee-mate’s particular skills, interests and thoughts on the financial world – knowing all you can will give you a leg-up when you’re speaking to financial recruiting firms.

Finally, another way to use social media in a job hunt is to participate in Glassdoor. Glassdoor is a website that functions as an anonymous message board, on which individuals post their thoughts on working for their former and current employers. If you’ve been involved in financial recruiting before, you know that any individual comment, particularly since it’s anonymous, should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, in the aggregate, a series of comments from different posters about a given company can be very telling as to the company’s work culture, compensation scheme, and promotion possibilities. If nothing else, when you’re ready for the interview stage of the financial recruiting process, it’s worth knowing a company’s status on Glassdoor.

In summary, social media should be seen as a blessing in disguise for job hunters. If you keep your privacy settings high on your personal sites, you should be able to use social media constructively – as a tool to present a positive image of yourself, as a way to network, and as a way to gather more information about possible future employers.