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Social media and job hunting

Social media – can it hurt your job prospects? More employers are using social media to see what job candidates and current employees are doing or saying. What they find out about you and what you’ve said could be damaging your job hunting or career prospects.

Don’t stop using social media

If used wisely, it can be hugely helpful to your career. However, there is no firewall between your personal and professional life, so what you write online is there for any employer to find. So always ask yourself: Is this something you'd mind a future (or existing) employer seeing?

“Written words remain”

The internet is open for all to see. Don't be fooled by 'privacy settings' because they're not infallible. What you post on social media platforms is not private, and it leaves a trail. Photos, status updates, tweets, blog posts, and comments on other people's blogs are all trackable. You may think that some of your information is hidden or no longer exists because you deleted it but the reality is that everything can be retrieved and seen as they still live on inside search engines.

Think twice before posting

If you’re not prepared to say it to your boss (or say it in an interview) then don't say it online. If your online profiles include inappropriate photos or comments, offensive jokes, political rants or even comments about being drunk or taking another sick day off work, these will all act as big warning signs for employers.

Respect your company’s social media policy

Most employers now have social media policies governing what employees are permitted to post on social networks. Make sure you know your company's policy so you don't inadvertently violate it.

Can it help your career?

Until now, we have looked at how damaging social media can be if used incorrectly. However, when used properly, it can significantly boost your career. There is only so much you can put on your CV, but considering that the majority of employers do their candidate research online, you can use social media as an extension of your resume. How, then, can you use that to your advantage?

Increase your knowledge

Look at websites and participate regularly in blogs or networks in a field that you are interested in. You'll learn a lot and will become aware of new business trends long before others do. You may even have the chance to network with well-known experts in your industry!

Build your credibility

If you blog or contribute regularly on Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms, you'll start building credibility as someone who, at the very least, has a real interest and passion for the field. Think about it from an employers’ perspective – would you rather hire someone who you can see is passionate and interested in a particular subject, or someone who shows no involvement at all?

Expand your network

This kind of online participation means that you'll start building dozens of professional contacts—people who you can refer to when job searching or seeking professional advice. Keep in mind, of course, that an expanded network is a two-way street. Your network should in turn be able to come to you for advice or assistance as well.