It’s always a long and arduous journey to find a job. But don’t put in all that time and effort to get your dream gig – only to be derailed by inappropriate social media activity. Even if it’s ancient history by modern standards, make sure it doesn’t come back to bite you.
If you’re thinking, “Ok, paranoid much?”, consider this: 83 percent of recruiters say they use online search engines to uncover information about candidates – plus 43 percent have eliminated candidates based on negative information they find there, according to YoungMoney.com.
So it’s safe to assume that someone who holds your professional fate in their hands can and will do their due diligence in combing through your online history. With that in mind, put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes and start by searching your name on Google to see what surfaces. You may be surprised at what’s out there. Even if you are on top of all your privacy settings, you’re not immune to leaks. Case in point: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a victim thanks to a glitch on his own site. (It’s safe to assume Zuckerberg wasn’t in the middle of a job search, though.)
While there are plenty of reasons why an untidy online presence can be detrimental to your employment prospects, it’s also important to note that the social media space has opened up a lot of doors for the smart job seeker. Gone are the days when you need to print out and mail hard copies of your cover letter and resume. Now, many companies are posting their open positions on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, which require just a few mouse clicks to apply.
Did you know that 89 percent of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn and 25 percent have hired through Facebook? This is just the beginning. Those numbers have been accelerating upwards over the past few years as more and more employers are acknowledging the value of recruiting via social media.
Consider social media to be your “frenemy.” On the one hand, a smart digital presence can be a boon to your career and help you find your next professional home. But be wary of what you post and even who you connect with because one small misstep can mean the difference between an offer and a rejection. The downside of the Internet is that data can be stored forever. So before you leave a simple “LOL” comment on someone else’s sexist/racist/politically biased post, think about the potential consequences down the line. If it’s not worth losing a job over, it’s not worth posting.
Do you do anything to manage and protect your online brand? Have you turned to social media to search for jobs?