Social media has become a huge part of our lives. These days, it’s hard to find anyone who isn’t on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. It’s how we stay connected with our friends and family, and when used correctly, it can be a great tool for networking.
Social media can connect you with the right people, in the right place at the right time. However, when used incorrectly, it can be damaging to your career. As members of a connected and wired-in society, hiring managers are using social media to screen prospective employees, now more than ever before. As soon as most companies receive your resume and application, they will go online to research both you and your web-based persona. That is why it is important to remember that anything that you post on a social media website should be considered public, and could possibly be seen by current or potential employers.
To avoid any potentially damaging effects, here are some dos and don’ts, for your consideration, when it comes to how you conduct yourself on social media websites:
- Use common sense. Before you make any status updates or posts, consider, first, what would your boss (or potential employer) think if they were to see it.
- Don’t post anything that makes you look bad or could embarrass you in the future. Remember, when you’re applying for a job, potential employers are going to do their research; they will be checking your social media presence.
- Don’t post inappropriate photos. It may be wise to skip posting your weekend party pictures of you doing a keg stand.
- Don’t post inappropriate or discriminatory comments, especially negative comments about your current or previous employers.
- Don’t post photos or comments about drinking or drugs.
- Write in complete sentences that demonstrate well-written communication skills, and keep your sites professional. Remember, your web presence may be the first introduction a potential employer has into your abilities and personality. Make sure that it is a good impression.
- Don’t lie about your qualifications; it will catch up with you.
- Keep your profiles up-to-date so that potential employers can easily contact you.
- If you’re not sure whether or not your social media pages are “employer-friendly,” consider making them private. But, do keep in mind that public access to certain social sites, like LinkedIn and Google+, can be beneficial to you when employers are looking for more information; many often view these websites as online resumes.
Social media, with all of its many platforms, has become a powerful networking tool. Even though it is wise to use caution when it comes to your web presence and any potential negative impacts that it could have on your career, it can also be beneficial. Just use common sense.
For example, Twitter can be a great way for you to follow and keep up with all of the movers and shakers in your field, so that you stay up-to-date in all of the latest trends and information. Sites like Facebook can be beneficial when it comes to getting to know your coworkers. LinkedIn is also a wonderful resource where you can show off your professional achievements and make connections with industry leaders.
Social media websites allow you to follow companies that you may be interested in working for, providing inside information, so that you can nail that interview. Social networks are bigger than ever and continue to grow every day. So, depending on how you choose to use these sites, they can ultimately help you land your dream job or incite grounds to be fired. The choice, really, is yours.
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