It's 2016 and the world loves its social media. If you're not active on sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter, you are living the life of a digital hermit. For most professionals, having a digital presence on social media is important as it shows that you're in touch with the times and staying relevant. Plus, it can help support your professional brand.
According to the 2014 Social Media Recruiting Survey on Jobvite.com, 93% of employers will check out your social media presence before making a hiring decision. As much as 73% of employers admitted that they've hired people that they've found because of social media.
Like it or not, having a web presence is a big part of today's job market and social media and the workplace, so you need to be on board. Employers want to see that you have a presence online and they want to see if your online brand enhances, or hurts, your professional brand. If you're not on any social media, they may worry that you are computer-phobic, which does not bode well in 2016. Use social media to not only promote yourself professionally, but to show community events, charity work, and anything you do that may help an employer get a feel for who you are as a person, not just an employee.
However, just as much as your activity on social media sites can help your employment chances, there are rules to the game. Here are a few of the social media faux pas that could cost you that job.
1. Not being on Linkedin
Linkedin is the professional boardroom of social media. Designed to be a hub for professionals to interact, Linkedin is the first stop for many employers and job seekers. Your profile is essentially your online resume plus you have the ability to post blogs and links that demonstrate your professional chops. It's a great place to search for job listings and connect with people in your field as well as recruiters.
The trick here is to make sure you keep Linkedin professional. This isn't the venue for pictures of your cat's birthday party or gushing about your favorite party spot. Using Linkedin improperly is worse than not using it at all. Check out this article on 9 ways to make LinkedIn work for your job search.
2. Too Much Information (TMI!)
It's easy to get carried away on fun sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but when you're on the hunt for a new job, you need to assume that everything you post might be seen by potential employers. That means those selfies you took in that Halloween costume, a rant about your latest doctor visit, or the results of slightly inappropriate Buzzfeed quizzes shouldn't be posted – anywhere.
Set your settings to private so only your friends can access most of your posts. Then, do an incognito search of your name on Google (you know the employers will) and see what you find. Eliminate anything that might raise red flags.
3. Venting about work or colleagues
Maybe your last job didn't end so well. You won't gain anything by dwelling on it. It's better to move on – quietly. It doesn't matter if you are right or not, posting about these things on social media makes you look like you are not a team player. When employers see this sort of thing, they will write you off as a potential troublemaker.
To maintain proper etiquette concerning social media and the workplace, keep your posts positive and light in nature. You never know who might see them and judge your employability based on that one post.
4. Tweeting strong opinions on touchy topics
Remember your parents telling you not to talk about politics or religion at the dinner table? Well, it's kind of like that. Politics, religion, and controversial social issues are all very important topics. If you feel very strongly that you must broadcast your opinion on these things, do so as diplomatically as possible. Also, accept the fact that this social media faux pas may turn away potential employers who don't share your views.
5. Not displaying your strengths
As you look for your next job, think about your work field and your personal strengths. Then, concentrate on your social media presence. Does it display those strengths? For instance, if you are a writer, you wouldn't want your Twitter feed to be littered with typos. Do you work in sports? Make sure your Twitter and Facebook show that you are on top of the latest news and trends. Use photos on Instagram, videos on Youtube, and projects on Pinterest to display your specific arsenal of talents that your next employer needs.
When it comes to social media and the workplace, it can be easy to get sloppy and hurt your image. But, with a little discipline and forethought to avoid these social media faux pas, instead of hurting your job search, you can make yourself stand out among the crowd.
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