Can Social Media Kill Your Career Search?

The Internet is arguably one of the greatest inventions the world has seen in recent years. Indeed, we will forever be indebted to Mr. Al Gore. You know, cause he created it and all.

Not only has the web made it easier for us to stay in touch with friends and family, pay bills, find apartments, cars, and even (gulp) love, it’s also made it increasingly easy to find employment.

Gone are the days of the red pen and the classifieds page. Now, you can double click your way to a wealth of career opportunities in just a matter of minutes. Additionally, with sites like LinkdIn, Facebook, and Twitter each growing in popularity, networking and self-promotion has become easier than ever.

However, with all of these valuable tools at our fingertips, we often forget that social media can be a two-edged sword. It can certainly help us to find jobs, but it can also hurt us in the process as well.

Tony Morrison, Vice President of Business Development at Cachinko, shared his thoughts on the benefits and potential risks associated with social media and the act of job-hunting in a Mashable post this morning. In it, he lists five common mistakes made by job-seekers online. Are you guilty of committing any of these deadly social media sins? Read on to see what Morrison feels young professionals should avoid when looking for employment today:

1. As much as you might love your fraternity brother who never really grew out of the Animal House phase, your prospective boss might not. Employers will not judge you solely based on your connections, but having a wild child as an online friend posting inappropriate status updates and photos still can kill your chances for landing a plum job. Pay attention to how you interact with your friend and how they work with you. If you sign on to find the occasional profane comment or dirty picture tag, it’s time to set some limits. Talk to your friend about who is reading your profile and/or change your settings to restrict who can post/tag what.

2. It’s one thing to join a social network; it’s another thing to participate. If you don’t have the time for social media, don’t make an account. An empty or barren social media profile says that you start things you can’t finish and aren’t taking advantage of the tools you have.  More and more employers are searching candidates on Google, so that MySpace profile you started and thereafter neglected will pop up. Hit the basics by including a current (and appropriate) picture, basic info, and updating at least once a week. If you can’t do that much, delete any accounts that are not adding value.

3. On the flip side, a common problem many job seekers run into is putting too much out there on social media. While it might be awesome to share all those wickedly funny party photos and NSFW videos with your friends, your current or potential employer might not appreciate the humor. Additionally, the job search is a lot like dating. When you’re gainfully employed, your current employer isn’t going to want to see you actively job-searching on Facebook. If you’re shopping around, many recruiters and hiring managers will lose interest if they see you getting cozy with another company. Know what to share, when to share it and with whom. Be discreet. Your privacy and how you value and protect it is also a critically important attribute of your online brand. Maintain a certain level of professional aloofness by limiting the content you upload and checking your privacy settings frequently.

4.  We’ve all seen statistics describing social media as a great tactic for all job seekers. However, remember that the job search should only be about 20% online, and social media is just one part of that. You have many talents. You cannot demonstrate the various facets of your personal and professional brand exclusively via online tools, no matter how sophisticated the social networking platform or your digital marketing skills. So make it a point to practice all of your networking skills, and get away from the keyboard once in a while to talk with someone face-to-face. If you rely on social media too heavily, you’re going to become a one-hit wonder real quick. Employers want to see candidates who are well-rounded with their branding and job search methods.

5. Admit it, you’ve spent a little too much time friending on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, or grouping into circles on Google+. That’s fine. Social media wasn’t meant to simply be a job search tool — it’s a place to have fun, connect with friends and, maybe, see how that girl you knew in high school is doing now. However, be aware that five minutes can turn into an hour on social media, which can seriously hurt your job search efforts. Stay focused on your job search, and set time aside in your day for “fun” social media so that it doesn’t run away with you.

 

 

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