How to Use or Lose with Social Media in the Job Search

Just about everyone today has taken part in social media through Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and that’s just to name a few! Our generation began leaving personal internet footprints as teenagers. In the words of comedian Pete Holmes, “You shouldn’t be able to reach millions of people when you’re that young, because that’s a permanent record. How is anyone ever going to run for president? In fifty years, there’s just going to be a trial like, ‘Senator O’Neil? Who is ONeily19?’” It’s kind of scary when you think about it, especially when it comes down to things like finding a job.

According to an article published in 2011, 53% of employers research potential job candidates on social networking sites, and over a third were able to find discrepancies between  a resume and an online profile, indicating that the information that had been provided to them was not entirely truthful. On the opposite side of things, according to a study done in 2010, over fourteen million people found their last job by using social media for networking purposes.

So how can today’s job seekers successfully land a career when social media plays such a large role in the hiring process? Check out these tips on how to use or lose with social media!

Use: Make your online accounts professional by refraining to provide a political and religious identity (unless your career is in one of those fields) as well as a relationship status. You may also want to remove anything that could give too much light onto your lifestyle. You want your employer to see you without having their judgments clouded with your kitchen’s cleanliness, or whether or not you’re living with your significant other.

Lose: Don’t leave comments, videos, or pictures displayed that may be seen as questionable. Even if you did not write or post them, having them viewable on your account will not be what gets you a job.

Use: Make certain areas of your accounts accessible to the public. Employers appreciate when they can get some information about you that will push them in one direction or another.

Lose: Don’t completely privatize your accounts, as no information isn’t helpful to you. You also don’t want to completely publicize your accounts when they are used for personal purposes.

Use: Make the career side of you obvious to everyone. Others on your social media site should be well aware of what it is you do for a living, what you have accomplished so far, and what you are looking for.

Lose: Don’t provide details or aspects of your current or past jobs that should remain confidential. Don’t discuss your interviews, or speak poorly of your job.

Use: Google your name, and take measures to remove anything that you would not want others to see should they attempt to search you. Find ways to improve your search engine optimization.

Lose: Don’t leave old accounts and profiles active and viewable.


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