Although job seekers and employers are still grasping at various ideas on how best to use the medium during the hiring process, it's pretty clear that social media is here to stay.
There is a lot of advice out there about how job seekers should use social media to connect with employers – to the point where the information can sometimes become overwhelming. Therefore we're going to stick to some basics that every job seeker should keep in mind when using social media.
Here are five basics to live by if you plan on using your social media profiles for job searching:
- Brag about your skills, but not too much – Social media is a great place to showcase some of your skills. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are perfect for posting short articles or status updates about your accomplishments and highlighting any clubs or volunteer activities you're involved with. However, don't go overboard and brag about yourself and your accomplishments too much. Keep in mind that an employer wants to know what you can do for them, not what you can do for yourself.
- Keep your private life private – When you're only using social media as it was originally intended – for social purposes – it makes sense to share more of your private life. But when you're using social media to find a job, posting such things as risque photos and highly-opinionated status updates are more risk than they're worth. Even such things as your relationship status, political and religious affiliation can cause some employers to disregard you (unless, of course, you're searching specifically for a job relating to one of those things).
- Use the same decorum you would at work – Most employees would not walk into the office and speak obscenities to their co-workers or talk about how much they drank the previous weekend, so keep those things off your social media profiles if you're searching for a job. Although these things might seem like simple fun between you and friends at the time, they can just as easily turn a potential employer off from even considering you for a job.
- Keep it interesting and professional – When you're searching for a job, it helps to convey that you know something about the area of work you want a job in and that you're interested in that type of job. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great for conveying this type of knowledge to potential employers. Instead of posting a status update about the type of sandwhich you had for lunch, try posting your thoughts on a recent article about your industry of work or provoking a constructive discussion on an interesting work-related topic.
- Choose your friends wisely – Your network of friends can play a huge role on your social media sites. Some of your friends may work for companies that are looking to hire and may be able to recommend you for a job opening. You also want to steer clear of friending anyone who may not represent you in the best light, whether they tag you in unflattering pictures or post obnoxious things on your wall. Even though an employer may not be able to look at your friend's profiles, they will be able to see who you're connected to and what people are saying about you.