You may have heard that hiring managers look at social media sites before making their decisions about job candidates. According to a survey conducted by Careerbuilder.com, 65 percent of employers check social media to see if a candidate presents himself or herself professionally.
Social media sites, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, can help you find a job and connect with people who can assist you with growing your career. However, social media, when used the wrong way, can backfire and jeopardize a job offer or even your current job. It’s important to be professional and consider what you should do on social media to aid your job search. Regardless of your experience, industry or job history, keeping your social media profiles professional can save you from losing out on a great opportunity because of a a social media misuse or abuse.
To help guide you, here are some simple social media do’s and don’ts that will help you sidestep those kinds of pitfalls and help you stay a step ahead of your competition.
Do: Get active and create an online presence
When you’re looking for a job or positioning yourself for career growth, it’s important to have an online presence to showcase your skills and experience. Your online social media pages will also help you connect with contacts who can expedite your job search and assist you with moving up the career ladder. Take the time to ensure that all your work-related social pages are updated and ready to be reviewed prior to starting a hunt. A solid presence and involvement on these platforms are an easy way to put your resume, skills and experiences in front of recruiters.
Do: Focus on your unique skills & interests
Employers want to see well-rounded candidates with varied interests in hobbies, groups, activities and volunteerism. Be sure to include specific words and phrases that match the qualifications of jobs you are seeking. Remove anything that can tarnish your professional reputation and only post communications, links and photos that portray you in the best possible light. Make sure your employment history on your resume matches the information on your profile
Do: Join industry groups and engage
Build your network well in advance of when you need it by making connections in your industry and career field. Be engaged and proactive in your communications by following industry leaders, joining groups, sharing articles and having discussions that are relevant to your field and future career opportunities. These activities display leadership skills, communication skills and interest levels. The more interactions, the greater likelihood of getting introductions which will be invaluable when looking for a job.
Don’t: Post inappropriate images or content
Employers check out candidates on multiple social media platforms which means anything you post may be read by your employer or co-workers. If you share company business or post inappropriate content including pictures, you could get in trouble with your current manager. Hiring managers often screen candidates’ social media and will avoid interviewing or hiring candidates who post provocative or inappropriate photos or content.
Don’t: Complain about employers or be offensive
It might sound like common sense but, it happens far too often. Staying primarily neutral and keeping your comments, likes and shares appropriate should protect you from having to wonder if what you post might be seen as inappropriate or offensive. By remaining neutral, you won’t appear extreme, closed-minded or judgmental as you might if you post highly opinionated content. When it comes to berating your former employer or colleagues, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Avoid posting complaints online that could be viewed by future employers as trivial or divisive. Hiring managers are looking for employees with positive attitudes who mesh with their teams, not cause problems.
Don’t: Spend too much time on social media
Many people job search from work but given the way companies monitor employees, it’s not wise to use your work computer or email account for job searching. The temptation when you’re job searching is to spend time looking at job postings, perhaps uploading your resume, talking to contacts, or posting about the trials and tribulations of your job search. Be selective when sharing your information and don’t waste your employer’s resources by surfing the web all day.
In summary, social media platforms can be effective tools to help you network, educate yourself and grow your career. However, if used inappropriately, they can easily keep you from advancing in your current position or finding another job. Act and present as a professional and you will be treated as a professional.
Good luck and happy hunting!
Questions on this topic? Reach out to Barry Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org).