How Social Media Can Help and Harm Your Job Search

In an age where everything we do is documented online, from what we had for breakfast at the latest happening venue, to where we went on our exotic holiday, to venting about what irritated us most at any given time....including our workplaces!!

" Job seekers should be aware that what they post on social media platforms can influence whether a recruiter decides to consider them for an open position. Experts say that social media posts can have a significant impact on your “personal brand,” and may even “lead to problems when you’re applying for a position.” Although not all companies routinely check online profiles, if they do encounter material “that casts them in a less than positive light,” a candidates' prospects could instantly plummet. " (LinkedIn Daily Rundown)

An article written by Hannah Morgan and published in U.S.News (read the full article here), discussed the potential risk you run by over-sharing. I mean, we get it, the internet and social media makes us feel more connected and somewhat comfortable in the illusion that we can entertain ourselves and others by sharing our lives online. But at what cost?

" A recent survey from CareerBuilder reports that screening candidates based on social media is at an all-time high: 70 percent, up from 11 percent in 2006. "

A potential employer or recruiter will google someone to find Information that supports a candidate’s qualifications, the professionalism of a candidate, what other people are posting about them, and perhaps most importantly, a reason not to hire a candidate!

According to a survey, the top 11 things employers said caused them to reject candidates are:

  • Provocative or inappropriate posts or information.

  • Drinking or using drugs.

  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion.

  • Bad-mouthing their previous company or fellow employee.

  • Lying about qualifications.

  • Poor communication skills.

  • Links to criminal behaviour.

  • Sharing confidential information from previous employers.

  • Unprofessional screen name or handle.

  • Lied about an absence.

  • Posted too frequently.

With this in mind, there are some important factors to think about when managing your social media and the impact on both new and ongoing employment opportunities. Even if you already have a secure job, the above online behaviour can lead to disciplinary action or dismissal.

Be Socially Savvy - make sure you have control of when are where you are mentioned or tagged in social media.

Tone It Down - even in today's day and age where "being yourself" is more socially acceptable, beware of swearing, political and/or religious rants, drug-use (even if it's legal in a place you have travelled to), etc.

Remember that once it's online, anyone can see it and it's there forever - this speaks for itself but even seemingly "private" settings can be accessed by someone who really wants to know.

Following these simple guidelines will ensure that you don't ever need to be concerned about what someone might dig up if you're in line for a job.

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