Social Media Can Be Helpful to Your Career ... or Not

You’ve heard it before, “be sure your social media is tight.” But, what does that really mean? Where do you start? The most common types of social media include social networks (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn), microblogging platforms (e.g. Twitter), and blog comments and forums. Some may think of social media as only including Facebook and Twitter, however, it is important to keep in mind the broad definition of social media as you consider your social media presence.

Having social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram does not automatically have a negative impact on your career. However, the way you present yourself through these various accounts can impact your job search or job advancement. According to a survey on employers performed by CareerBuilder, 65% of employers screen job candidates using social media. The same survey reported that 34% of employers found reasons not to hire candidates based on the content they discovered during a review of social media.

It is also true that social media can be used as an effective tool to promote your personal brand and build your network. While LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, it is not the only source potential employers will search when researching you. If you have posted it online, there is always a chance anyone can find it – even the tightest privacy restrictions can leak out information.

Some strategies to enhance your profiles on other social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest include:

  1. Start a blog or discussion group related to your field.
  2. Follow companies based on your professional interest(s).
  3. Modify your privacy settings to share certain content with only family and friends.
  4. Update your profile picture on all accounts to a simple yet professional one.
  5. Ensure your profile information is consistent across all sites.
  6. Work on building a strong network.
  7. Use appropriate spelling and grammar.

A very good question to ask yourself as you review your profiles, “would I hire myself based on the information presented?”

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