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Don’t Get Caught With Your Social Media Down

Five social media platforms that can impact your career

9271484_sIt can’t be denied that social media can have a big impact on someone’s career.  There are frequent reports about someone getting in trouble or even fired for something they posted on Facebook. There are articles about how critical LinkedIn is in the job-search process.

Today, your social media presence isn’t just about keeping up with friends on Facebook or watching music videos on YouTube. It will probably influence your career in one way or another.  However, whether that influence is positive or negative is largely up to you.

Recently, I spoke at a Career Fair. Not surprisingly, during the Q&A session the topic of social media came up. An attendee  asked about the importance of being on LinkedIn. She didn’t have a LinkedIn profile, she explained because she didn’t feel comfortable posting information on the internet.

Big mistake, because one of the first things recruiters do when they get your application is to look you up online. How do we know? They told us.

In a recent recruiter survey, 80% of respondents said they research candidates online to both, find and eliminate them.  An overwhelming number (90%) also said that a candidate’s online profile at least somewhat influenced the decision to interview (47.5% say a lot, 42%% say somewhat). And 72.4% say it can even influence the decision to hire (15% say a lot, 42%% say somewhat).

It’s clear, you need to be there. It’s also clear that you need to manage what your employer and potential employers will discover about you. But, don’t forget that social media can work for you in other ways too. It’s an opportunity to research companies the same way they research you. Here are a few suggestions:

LinkedIn – This should go without saying, but you absolutely need to be on LinkedIn. Not only are recruiters searching for candidates, they’re using LinkedIn to learn more about you once you apply for a job.  Use the summary wisely, build your network and don’t forget to use the Status Update feature to stay in touch with your contacts. LinkedIn has a lot to offer. Make sure to use it to your best advantage.

Facebook – Many people consider Facebook as “social” social media. But, you need to think about what recruiters and potential employers will find  there. Some workplace experts advise setting your privacy settings so that most of your information is shared only with people you “friend.” However, If you’re posting pictures from your internship working with animals in Africa and you’re on the path to becoming a veterinarian you might want to reconsider making your page private. Even if your Facebook page is set as private be very careful what you post there.

Remember, when it comes to Facebook, it’s not just about monitoring your information. It’s a wonderful place to research potential employers as well. Looking at a company’s Facebook page can give you some insight into its culture. Many companies post jobs there as well.

Twitter – Are you on Twitter? Don’t over look this platform if you’re looking for a new opportunity, want to become more knowledgeable about your industry and/or want to make a name for yourself.  Start by following people you can learn from, leaders in your industry, recruiters and anyone else who catches your eye. Create a List of companies you want to work for or people you’d like to meet. It’s OK to lurk for awhile before jumping into the conversation. Just make sure to include a picture in your profile, Eggheads are often ignored on Twitter.

YouTube – While it may not be exactly main stream yet, people are creating video resumes.  Depending on your industry you might want to supplement your traditional resume with a video. Just make sure you dress professionally, keep the background clutter free, avoid just reading your resume and keep it short. Above all make sure you don’t embarrass yourself.  There are plenty of good and bad examples available online.

 Pinterest – Although, somewhat of the new kid on the block Pinterest is getting a lot of attention.  Over a million people are on the site daily and people are talking about it as a tool for job search. But whether or not you need to be there depends a lot on your industry. However, if you work in some fields, like public relations, social media, journalism, fashion and tourism, it might be something to consider. As with Facebook, this is another place to research potential employers.

While it used to be that some sites were designated as “business” while others were considered “social” the lines between them have blurred. While your current employer may not be researching you online, you can be pretty sure that a potential employer will be.  So don’t get caught with your social media “pants” down. Get on top of your social media presence today.



About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


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