01/16/2013 04:44 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2013

How to Use Facebook 'Graph Search' to Boost Your Career

On Tuesday, Facebook announced a game-changing new feature that will impact how we use the social network -- and potentially how we land our next job.

Facebook's 'Graph Search' is essentially a people-friendly search engine. Want to find someone in your neighborhood who likes to play soccer? Easy. What about photos of your friends before 2000? Yep, can do.

Moments after Facebook's announcement, culture site Pop Sugar rattled off several ways to use 'Graph Search' to enhance your social life.

With 'Graph Search,' you can find:

- great restaurants based on ones 'liked' by your friends

- people who live near you with similar hobbies

- new music that your friends already listen to

- interesting books to read and movies to watch

The search tool is a unique way to sift and organize people. That's why it's so important to reconsider how you can use Facebook professionally.

A Totally New Way to Get Hired

With 'Graph Search,' Facebook is giving hiring managers and recruiters a powerful strategy to locate the types of job applicants they want.

Example 1

A company needs to hire a graphic designer or someone with graphic design skills. The HR person might use 'Graph Search' and type 'friends of co-workers who are graphic designers.' The search function uses natural language, so the question will sound like normal speech.

If you're a graphic designer, you might come up in that query. Of course, that can only happen if you have 'graphic design(er)' as a phrase in your profile. Otherwise, how would Facebook know?

Example 2

A company is looking for 'friends of friends who speak and translate French.' Facebook allows you to add any languages and an 'About You' section to your profile. If you include that you're a French speaker and know how to translate the language, 'Graph Search' may once again deliver an HR coordinator right to your door.

Both examples lend credence to the idea that we should never delete our Facebook friends. Anyone in our social network may be the crucial link to a new opportunity.

Time to Change How We View Facebook

Until now, we used Facebook (and increasingly Google+) as a place to share photos, articles, viral videos and life updates. LinkedIn was the site to look professional and ready for business. Now a recruiter can use BOTH tools to size you up.

With 'Graph Search', Facebook has thrust its one billion users back into the job market because people in your extended network can find your bio with a simple query. (tweet this)

If there are certain keywords or phrases that you want associated with your profile, it's time to add them in.

That means you should include:

- a full job title

- job description

- where you attended school

- involvement with local/civic organizations

For now, 'Graph Search' will only use people, photos, places and interests to deliver results, but the company plans to include more features as development rolls on.

So What Happens Now?

Facebook is still testing 'Graph Search' in beta, and you can sign up here to give the tool a test drive.

At the moment, few people have access to the new search function. That means we're in a grace period and have time to update our profiles with information a future employer might want to know. could cry foul, accuse Facebook of another breach in privacy and ignore 'Graph Search' altogether.

That's certainly one option, but here's the reality:

Mark Zuckerberg makes the rules. Unless you plan to erase your Facebook account, it's in everyone's best interest to play along.

What do you think of 'Graph Search'? Cool idea or meh? Are you interested in trying it out?

Share below!