Social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be your golden ticket to a job, but job seekers should be weary of this double-edged sword. Even the tiniest misstep can make you fall from an ideal future employee to blacklisted candidate. In terms of its success rate, networking is the most useful way to search for jobs, but according to a recent study done by ExecuNet, 35% of recruiters have eliminated a candidate based on information revealed through their social network.
The Do's of social networking:
- Do define yourself.
When looking for a job or a move up in your career, it's important to establish a professional career presence online. Give employers insight into your background experience and skills by listing your areas of expertise. Keep in mind that simply having a large number of connections makes you an asset as networking is often seen as a highly sought-after skill. Most importantly, keep your information current and accurate.
- Do Google yourself.
It is important to remember—even when you're not actively job-searching—that once information has gone online, it can be easily found--forever. Be active about monitoring how much of your personal information goes public by conducting a search for your name.
- Do be an asset to the online community.
Social media is great for casual banter with friends and family. However, it can be a highly useful tool to highlight your interest in a particular field or industry trends. If you read an interesting article online, make sure to share it with your network or re-tweet it with your opinions. Adding value to your online presence is exactly what the networks were designed for.
- Do make professional connections.
Impress potential employers by using your social network is to make connections with people outside of your social circle. Form quality online connections with previous co-workers, clients, teachers and industry professionals. You never know who might know someone that you know.
The Don'ts of social networking:
- Don't over share.
Acting on impulse without censoring your online activity can hurt you in the long run. This goes for personal information, controversial opinions and anything that may be regarded as crossing the line. If you're having a bad day, talk to someone about it instead of sharing it with the world—literally. Potential employers want to leave the drama out of the office.
- Don't be active during work hours.
Be professional not only about what you post, but also when you post. Monica Wilson, Co-director of Career Services at Dartmouth warns that social activity occurring online during work hours might be spotted by potential employers, demonstrating a lack of conscientiousness on your part.
- Don't gossip about work.
Whether you are currently employed or searching for a job, it can be tempting to use your social network as an outlet for your daily professional struggles. Do yourself a favor and resist posting or tweeting about your bad experience with a boss, hiring manager, interviewer or company. These are private matters that may come to bite you in the future if you're not careful.
- Don't forget to give back.
Neglecting your network once you get what you wanted out of it is a sure way to guarantee you will have more work in the future. You never know when you will be in the market for another job, so always consider your contacts as well as the content you share, regardless if you're happily employed or not. Social networking has become a way of life and you will benefit from accepting and embracing it rather than moving forward in denial.
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