Social media is a highly effective tool for building a professional network and even landing a job – when it's used correctly. When used incorrectly, or when a profile sits dormant or incomplete for an extended period, it could actually be doing more harm than good. With nearly 90 percent of job seekers using social media, employers are increasingly using it to screen candidates and filter potential hires. Are you making the most of your online profile?
Approximately 34 percent of employers who actively use social media to screen recruits admit that social media has influenced their hiring decisions. Employers cite numerous reasons for refusing a candidate because of their social media profile, including:
- Inappropriate pictures or information. This isn't a big problem on some of the more professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, but employers rarely limit their search to just one site. If you really want that job, make sure all of your profiles – including your personal ones – are appropriate for a work environment.
- Poor grammar or communication. Some employers cite a candidate's poor grammar or communication skills as a primary reason for passing over them. Most of us think our grammar doesn't matter on social media, but it does – and this is proof.
- Negative attitude toward others. Employers also check your communications to see how you interact with the general public. If you've ever bad-mouthed another user or made a discriminatory comment, it might end up costing you a job.
Maintaining a negative or edgy profile might attract a large following, but it's usually not appropriate for work. Instead, Automation Personnel Services recommends using social media to promote your positive traits, skills and accomplishments.
Although employers will notice the negative aspects of your profile, they'll also pay attention to the positives. According to CareerBuilder's recent survey, almost 30 percent of all hiring managers surveyed were driven to hire a candidate because of their profile. Some ideas include:
- Listing your qualifications. Use social media as an extension of your resume. Draw attention to key qualifications and achievements – especially if they pertain to the jobs you're seeking.
- Maintaining a professional image. Always try to use correct spelling and grammar whenever possible. Nobody's perfect, but employers can easily tell the difference between someone who is trying and those who simply don't care.
- Showing your creativity. Resumes and CVs are often drab, ordinary and boring – this is by design. To make up for it, feel free to get creative with your online profile. Listing your hobbies, interests and any additional skills – even if they aren't pertinent to your job hunt – can go a long way.
It's easy to fall into the habit of posting personal opinions or images on social media, but it could come back to haunt you. Before going through with your next post, ask yourself if it would be appropriate in the workplace. If not, you're better off deleting it altogether.
Using Social Media To Your Advantage
Social media affects your chances of finding a job in many ways. Some are more obvious than others, and some job seekers aren't even aware that employers are screening their online communications. But the most proactive and successful job seekers know how to use their profiles to their advantage and, when done effectively, can increase their odds of finding legitimate work.
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