Like it or not, social media has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. Nearly every website you visit will ask if you want to “share on Facebook” or “tweet this article” – it’s everywhere and does not seem to be letting up anytime soon. If you are connected with both coworkers and friends in these networks, it can be difficult to keep the line between personal and professional clear. A CareerBuilder.com survey states that 45 percent of employers use social networking sites to research candidates. The last thing you want to do is post content that’s professionally inappropriate and have it fall into the wrong hands!
We All Share the Space
Even though you can select who you officially let into your network, in many cases, your content may still be viewable to people outside your network who are internet savvy enough to access it. This is especially true when you are on the job search, when every possible professional edge you can give yourself counts. That inflammatory comment you left on the article you disagreed with? We can see it! So, think twice about choosing that fun photo of you with the beer in your hand as your default photo.
Learn Your Way Around
If you are new to social networking and want to get involved, it’s wise to learn the ins and outs of each network. Twitter has a more laid back, casual vibe, so this platform may be best for sharing thoughts with friends and family. On the other hand, we all know LinkedIn is the perfect platform for growing your professional network.
Facebook is the most widely used social networking site, so we tend to go there to post photos, speak what’s on our mind and share interesting articles. It can be tricky to walk the line between casual and professional, since it shares some of Twitter’s fun atmosphere and LinkedIn’s career enhancing capabilities. If you have both friends and professional acquaintances in your network, we recommend making heavy use of Facebook’s privacy settings that give users lots of control over who gets to view what content.
According to the survey, here are the top reasons hiring managers decline a candidate after researching their social media activity:
- Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 53 percent
- Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
- Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35 percent
- Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29 percent
- Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26 percent
- Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent
- Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 20 percent
Interact wisely on these spaces. Staying positive and posting useful information is a plus. When employers do a public Google or social media search on your name, we want them to be reassured with what they find!
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