More employers are checking out the social media profiles of applicants to weed out undesirable candidates. So while you may be proud of your 500+ Facebook friends or your 1000+ followers on Twitter, make sure your awesome virtual social life is not killing your career.
A nationwide survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder, and including more than 2,100 hiring managers and HR professionals, found that nearly two in five companies (39 percent) used social networking sites to research job candidates in 2013, up from 37 percent in 2012.
Here are seven mistakes on social media that could be hurting your job search:
You haven’t Googled yourself: You need to be able to see what your potential employer is seeing. Google yourself and check out the results. Is there anything out there that could be costing you your job? While it is important to have an online presence so that employers can learn about you, it is also important to be aware of what they are looking at.
Your privacy settings are not appropriate: Most social networking sites do offer options to keep your profile private. Use these as much as possible. Avoid posting any controversial content; however, if you absolutely want to share what you did last weekend, limit the view only to your friends. But be aware that anything you post online can become public or viral in no time. If a friend “likes,” tags, or retweets you, a larger audience now has access to your post.
You are active on social media at work: Companies have the means to monitor the online activities of their employees. So if you are applying for new jobs or posting about how frustrated you are at your job, your employer can find out about it. In addition, if you are constantly uploading pictures or videos during office hours, or commenting and updating your status, it could be a red flag to your prospective employer as most sites share a timestamp of your activity.
You have recommendations only from friends: While it is great to get recommendations from friends on your professional profile, it is much more beneficial to have your co-workers or managers endorse your work. Endorsements from your professional network are more relevant to the job search than a friend’s recommendation.
You have grammatical or spelling errors in posts: According to Jobvite’s 2012 survey, 54 percent of recruiters had a negative reaction to grammar and spelling mistakes, while only 47 percent of recruiters had negative reaction to alcohol references.
You join the wrong groups: If you are a member of public groups like “Things I Hate About My Boss” or use hashtags like #jobsucks, your resume may not make it to the shortlisted pile. On the other hand membership and affiliations with professional organizations are seen positively. Jobvite reports 66 percent of recruiters react positively when a profile mentions volunteerism efforts.
Your professional information is inconsistent: Be consistent with job titles, companies you’ve worked for and duration. It’s fine if you rework your job descriptions, for example, because targeting your resume is a good practice when applying for jobs. Inconsistency in the top headers of your resume will not sit well with potential employers. Make sure the information you’ve provided in various forums/sites adds up.
On the positive side, companies are also looking for reasons to hire you. So use social media wisely to highlight your skills, expertise, and professional savvy, and get the job you deserve.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s the worst mistake you’ve seen on social media? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.
Padmaja Ganeshan-Singh is a freelance writer and an HR professional with extensive experience in employee relations, talent management and career development. She can also talk endlessly on the merits and demerits of forced distribution and pay for performance. In her free time, she tries to figure out the personality type of people she meets using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. INTJ anyone?