What Social Networking Sites Are Doing to Keep You from a Job

January 22nd, 2015 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »

Social Networking Sites

Social media is central to the modern job search. Even if you aren’t using it to look for a job, you better believe that employers are using it to look for you. CareerBuilder found that 43% of employers use social networking sites to research applicants. That alone is reason to keep your social profile clean, professional, and aligned with your personal brand.

Each social network site has its own strengths for your personal brand. It all depends on how much of yourself you want to convey. Modern job seekers are almost required to have an account on at least one social networking site, but you control the aperture that lets employers see you as a person.

Facebook

Facebook is notoriously casual, but it’s still a part of your digital footprint. What you say and post can be used against you by employers. There are two approaches you can take to curtail any negative perceptions: hiding yourself or confiding your personal brand with employers.

The Hide option works well enough on Facebook. You can make all future posts private, limit who your existing posts will be seen by, and curtail traffic to your page from search engines like Google and Bing.

The Confide method embraces the traffic from search engines. Depending on what you’ve posted previously, it may require some tidying up. That mean scrubbing your profile of negative posts, inappropriate pictures, and anything else that can hurt your character.

Once that’s done, you can use your social media profile as an outlet for your personal brand. Mix your standard posts with career relevant articles. Pose questions to your industry peers. Upload images of you volunteering. On Facebook, you don’t need to strictly focus on your job search; just add a few career related updates from time to time.

Twitter

As a social networking site, Twitter is an incredible tool. Tweeting your 140 character thoughts and sharing content is simple. That’s what ultimately makes it so dangerous.

Celebrities and regular folks have run afoul of just spouting off whatever they think in the heat of the moment. It’s like standing in front of a microphone at a podium and expecting your snide comments to go unnoticed. Major backlash happens more often than you’d think.

Twitter, like Facebook, makes it relatively easy to limit who can view your profile. But beyond that, you need to watch what you say. Deleting offensive tweets isn’t enough. Always let anything emotionally charged or inflammatory sit in draft form for an hour before you post. Always Tweet with a clear head.

LinkedIn

With 332 million users, LinkedIn is now the preeminent platform for the web based job search. If you want to be seen, it’s almost required for you to be on this social networking site. Recruiters are searching for people and, if you have an optimized LinkedIn account, jobs can come to you.

Unlike the other two, there’s no reason not to have a public account. In fact, you want your account as searchable as possible. That means doing the following:

  • Use job titles that people will search. Obscure internal titles (i.e. Digital Prophet, Code Ninja, etc.) or your employment status (i.e. Unemployed, Looking for Work) will repel more people than they attract.
  • Match your resume with your profile. There can be differences in the way it’s conveyed, but any discrepancies between the two can seem intentional.
  • Use searchable industry keywords in each job’s synopsis and a technical section. More appropriately used keywords (not keyword repetition in a huge chunk) can boost who will find you without giving the impression that you’re trying to game the system.

LinkedIn has even given regular users the opportunity to post their own content. Writing your own industry-related content can expand the reach of your personal brand beyond your own sphere.

Any Other Social Networking Accounts

As far as major social networking accounts go, Pinterest and Instagram are typically only effective as job search tools for graphic designers or photographers. However, employers want to get a full impression of who you are; they’ll review anything they can find.

Remember: any social networking profile is up for grabs. All of your public accounts need to reflect your best, most professional self. Do that, and you’ll never disqualify yourself before the race is run.

by James Walsh

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