Thursday, 26 July 2012 12:53
Why social media habits expose you more than your resume
You may have spent hours pondering just the right action verbs for your resume and crafted the perfect cover letter, but if you have not cleaned up your Facebook page, all that work could be for naught. Not only do social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to connect and network as you search for a job, but they give you a platform to sell yourself – or shame yourself – to future employers.
"Today, making sure you are buttoned up on your social media sites is as important as drafting a perfect resume and cover letter," says Phil Schmitt, who teaches a class on preparing students for their job searches. "It is not uncommon for a prospective employer to go to your Facebook page during the review process. I have even heard of employers asking interviewees to pull up their Facebook pages while in an interview."
Your social media sites can be used for good and evil when it comes to job-seeking. You can position yourself as an expert in your field, while networking with others in your field. But one offensive rant, racy photograph or even an off-color item posted by one of your friends may give prospective bosses enough reason to hire another qualified candidate.
Schmitt offers the following tips to clean up your social media act:
Audit all your social media profiles to edit out potentially unflattering posts or pictures. In your search, also assume guilt by association. Delete any offensive posts by your friends or hide friends with a habit of posting questionable content. Then Google yourself to check if anything remains on the Internet that you might have forgotten about from an old account or from something someone else has posted.
Openly demonstrate your knowledge and interest in your profession. Re-posting interesting articles you come across relating to your field demonstrates knowledge and passion. Also use your LinkedIn profile to share your experience and expertise, and post anything of interest that you may have authored on your social media profiles.
LinkedIn is great for connecting with old teachers and other professional contacts. If you had a good relationship with a teacher or former coworker, ask him or her to write a recommendation that you can post on your profile.
Learn about your future employers
Follow companies you are interested in working for so you can build your knowledge base about the company. Following the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn feeds of companies and professional organizations is also a great way to learn about job openings. Be sure to mention that you learned about the opening through social media, which shows that you are adept at using these networks.
"Some may lament that by accessing your profiles, employers can dig farther into your personal life than you would like," says Schmitt. "But these platforms give you an unprecedented opportunity to market yourself to prospective employees and make connections to other professionals." (ARA)