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Social Media Can Affect Your Employability—Choose Your Words Wisely

by Jennifer Martin
Marketing Specialist

December 04, 2015

Whether you’re currently looking for that perfect job or will be soon after graduation, social media can play a big part in your hiring process- both good and bad. That said, you should be very cognizant of what you choose to make public on the internet.

Once something goes up on the web, it’s there forever.  Think you deleted it? Think again. Anyone with the resources available to them can find anything, on anyone, from anytime. And this is important to bear in mind as your job search is underway. Because social media is such a common form of communication these days, it’s no surprise that employers, head hunters, hiring managers, and human resource professionals may be using the internet to “pre-screen” potential employees.

Many sites like LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter are common places where employers may conduct their search on potential candidates, outside your cover letter and resume. This can be a very positive thing, but it can also be a very negative thing, depending on what you choose to share on your pages. Employers are able to gain insight into your personality, habits, written communication skills, what you say about others and your political views, to name a few. Have you ever made a discriminatory comment related to race, gender, or religion? Do you post questionable content? How about inappropriate language or photos? Believe it or not, employers can use information they find on your public social media to possibly look you over because of something they may have seen or read that they found unfavorable.

Be careful with what you put out there. There’s a saying, “You get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”. What do your social media pages say about you? Are you attracting people TO you or are you repelling people AWAY from you?

Online job search sites like CareerBuilder have surveyed employers to find out why they use a candidate’s social media as a form of research, to which a high percentage of employers have revealed they do it to see if the candidate presents him or herself professionally. In addition, they may be trying to discern if the candidate would be a good fit within the culture of their business, based on what they see as their “personality”. So remember… even when you think no one’s watching, someone very well may be.

While employers have been found to halt their process of a job offer based on findings on social media, there’s also a flip side to this. Do you keep your nose clean on social media? You may find that to work to your advantage and enable you to get a leg up on your competition. Do you portray yourself professionally? Does your profile show your creativity? Do you write with proper grammar and show that you have strong communication skills? Employers may not necessarily be looking for the “dirt”, they may find that the image you exude online may be a perfect match for what they’re seeking, which can be a huge advantage for you.

Don’t post much? Maybe you should start. Silence may be golden but not when it comes to social media. Participate in discussion groups. Share expertise, post a helpful article, and show the world what you have to offer. Because, after all, what you put out there is oftentimes what you get in return. Just think twice before posting, be careful what you say, and make sure that before you click the mouse, that you’re proud of what you’re about to send online. Remember, it’s there forever.

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