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3 Social Media No-No's

By Susan P. Joyce

When used appropriately, social media can help you find a job, help you find career advice, and help you connect with people who can assist you with growing your career.

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DON'T -

1.  Avoid social media because it's too "dangerous."

Yes, social media must be used carefully, but by ignoring or avoiding it, you are handicapping yourself in several ways:

  • You are invisible if you aren't in social media. 

    And, today, being invisible is not good.  You look out-of-touch and un-prepared for the requirements of today's world. (See "5 Ways You Look Out-of-Date in Your Job Search" for more.)
  • You miss the opportunity to make a great impression on a potential employer.

    A study by Reppler, a reputation management business, showed some very interesting positive results from the use of social media.

    A survey of 300 hiring managers revealed that 68% hired someone because of what they found in their social media search on a candidate's name.

    Yes - that's right! They hired people because of - NOT in spite of - what they found in social media about the applicant:

    • 39% hired someone because they got a positive impression of the candidate's personality and "organizational fit."
    • 36% hired someone because the profile supported their professional qualifications.
    • 36% hired someone because the profile showed that the candidate was creative.
    • 34% hired someone because of the good references posted by others.
    • 33% hired someone because the profile showed "solid communications skills."
    • 33% hired someone because the profile showed that the candidate was well-rounded.
    • 24% hired someone because the candidate received awards and accolades.
    Obviously these employers could select more than one option in their responses, but the over-all message is clear:

    A good social media presence and solid profile had a positive impact on job seekers getting hired.
  • Someone else may "define" who you are, damaging your job search and career.

    Through proper use of social media, YOU control the "message" about who you are and what you do.

    Otherwise, what someone publishes about you - or about someone else with your name - is what the world sees. And they will think it is about you, if they don't have any other information.

    Google loves LinkedIn and Google Profiles, so they will always be present on the first page of Google search results on your name.  This gives you the opportunity to present your "best face" to the world because you control what they tell the world about you.

2.  Think social media is a fad.

Social media is as much of a "fad" as the Internet is. Humans are social beings, and social media enables us to reach out to more people and to share things with people we already know. It's not going away any time soon, so now is a good time to jump onboard. The social media train is picking up speed and waiting leaves you vulnerable.

And, social media can be great fun! Just be careful - everyone is watching and listening to what you post.

3.  Expect instant results.

If you are job hunting, you won't find a job immediately just by joining LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.  Invest the time and energy to build the public persona (or personal brand) that will support your job search.  This section of Job-Hunt has many articles about using these important social media platforms for job hunting.  Read them, and put them to work for you.

No one (celebrities excluded) automatically finds a job, a date, a mate, or millions of dollars just by joining social media.  But all of those, except the millions of dollars (mostly), do happen often enough, to a sufficient number of people, to make the investment of time cost effective for most people.

Bottom Line

Social media can be a very effective tool for your job search, used and used properly.  Ignore it at your own peril - you are more vulnerable in your job search if you avoid social media.  Certainly you can damage your career with inappropriate use, no question.  So, put on your grown-up mindset, pay attention to the rules of the (social media) road, and you'll be fine.

For More Information:

Read Kashmir Hill's excellent article, "What Prospective Employers Hope to See in Your Facebook Account" on Forbes.com.


About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 2012, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and onGoogle+.



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