Social media, including sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn can help you find a job and connect with people who can assist you with growing your career.
Online technology has not just become a part of the workplace; it has transformed the workplace entirely. Co-workers share their work using Dropbox, bosses schedule meetings using their shared Google calendar, and conference calls are conducted over FaceTime. However, for job seekers, the internet can become as much of a trap as it is a resource. Navigating the World Wide Web may seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding a balance between managing one’s personal and public online identities. One of the most intimidating parts of the modern online work lifestyle lies in the realm of social media. Considering 93% of recruiters use or plan to use social media to aid in the hiring process, those looking for jobs need to make sure they know some don’ts of the online world in order to make sure they are helped and not hindered by the online technology of today. Below are social media tips you should never do on social media if you want to land your dream job:
Don’t connect with everyone
There is a school of thought that says you should connect with everyone when you’re using social media. However, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to connecting. The first question you should ask yourself when making connections is how can the person help me? The second question is what can I do to help them? Before you ask someone to connect, consider what you have in common. That common denominator, regardless of what it is, is what's going to help with your job search.
Don't forget your Facebook privacy settings
You may think you're only sharing those photos from last night's very late party with your Facebook connections, but often, people you don't know can see the photos that you're tagged in or read your posts. Take some time to review what strangers, as well as friends of friends, can see.
Don’t be inconsistent
Update your online profile and ensure there is no factual mismatch between the information on-site and the hard copy of your resume
Never talk ill of your past or current employers and colleagues on any social media site. It’s the quickest way to end your job search.
Don’t be offensive
The easiest way to get fired is to post racist, sexist or politically offensive content. Also, don’t put up too many posts, which will convey you are way too idle
No unprofessional pictures
Check the privacy setting for past pictures on Instagram and Facebook. Go to ‘Time & Tagging’ and review who can see your posts and pictures. Social media is now being used widely for background checks, here is what you need to know.
Don’t create a bad first impression online
Words and photos can easily be misconstrued out of context, so make sure to analyse before posting. If you have to think to yourself “If someone who hasn’t met me yet saw this photo, would they have a negative first impression of me?” then ask yourself if the picture is really worth posting. Additionally, vigorously posting about politics, social issues, or personal issues may cause profile viewers to form initial judgments, misguided or not. While your opinions are important to your identity, is your outspoken “Twitter rant” about your former boss worth jeopardizing your future career?
Don’t let your LinkedIn detract from who you are
While sites like LinkedIn are meant to showcase your best qualities, it is easy to turn people off by simply using the site poorly. People quickly will judge you based on your online profile, so try to follow online etiquette guidelines. Don’t lie or embellish on your profile. Make sure not to over-post or spam your connections. Never criticize or negatively post in Groups. Don’t estrange connections by being generic and impersonal. The site exists to showcase your strengths, yet by making LinkedIn mistakes you can create new weaknesses.
Don’t post as if everything can be seen by everyone
Even if your Twitter account is set to private and you’re sure your Facebook security settings prevent unwanted people from viewing your posts, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In today’s world, your online self is an extension of your offline self. Your personal profile is an extension of your public profile. If you don’t want a boss, a friend, or a future employer to see a post, don’t take the risk. Keep your online identity positive rather than provocative
Don’t become a self-marketing machine
Bragging online is just as bad as bragging in person. If your pages become overwhelmingly self-promotional, they become a deterrent. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to connect with others, so involve your audience; if they feel included in what you say, they’ll actually want to see what you post. Additionally, if your posting is mechanical, scripted, or unnatural, it may seem like you exhibit those undesirable traits in real life. Do not let your positive personality traits be covered by impersonal and unrealistic social media behaviour.
However, it works both ways. Social media, when used the wrong way, can backfire and jeopardize a job offer or even your current job. It’s important to be careful and consider what you should do on social media to aid your job search, as well as some bad habits that are best avoided.
Tinotenda Sibanda is a Creative Designer at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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