September 18

Is Your Social Media Presence Helping or Hurting Your Career?

Land the Right Job


Kristen Duever


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

Imagine. You’ve just returned from a wild weekend in Vegas with your best friends and you can’t wait to facebrag with some mildly questionable photos from your trip. But you’re also in the process of applying for a new job. Could these photos possibly come back to haunt you? Could they hurt your chances of landing that new position?

Or maybe you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum. You don’t post anything because you don’t know who’s watching. If you are in the process of a career transition, you are making sure that there is nothing that might dissuade an employer or recruiter from moving you on to the next step in the process. But is it possible that the lack of an online presence might be just as damaging as photos of a drunken romp through Sin City?

The fact is – whether you believe it’s proper or not – more and more employers are using social media to screen potential candidates. According to the latest Harris poll*, 70% of employers now research job candidates through social media. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that going “off grid” is the solution because in that same survey, nearly 60% of employers said that they would not hire a job candidate that had no digital footprint. Technologies such as smartphones and social media have made us more connected than ever – and that includes more connection between our personal and professional lives. That means you have to find balance as you develop a positive online presence.

Here are some tips to do just that:1. Lay the foundation for thoughtful postsIncreasingly, what you put on your social media pages is becoming nearly as important as what you put on your resume – only it’s often much more personal. Having a good awareness of how you are presenting yourself is key.

By building the necessary skills to share your thoughts and feelings, you will be better able to develop posts that employers are drawn to – and less likely to make impulsive posts that may hurt your career development.2. Social media do’s and don’tsNow that you understand the importance of having a positive and professional online persona, let’s examine some of the ways you can make your social media profiles more attractive to would-be employers.

Let’s start with your name and profile picture. These are aspects of your profile that are visible to everyone regardless of your privacy settings and should therefore be kept professional. If for example, your Twitter handle is something like @beersnobforever, you might want to consider changing it – unless of course the position that you are applying for is brew master in your city’s newest craft brewery. Avoid making posts that will give recruiters a negative impression of you. This includes comments or photos with references to drunkenness, drugs or illegal activities, derogatory or racist comments as well as negative posts about a past or current employer.3. Take your social media to the next levelIf you really want to gain an edge over your competition in the job market, it’s important that you not only have a social media presence that doesn’t hurt you – but that you have a social media presence that actually helps you. If you are looking for a career in the digital space, it is almost expected that you use your online presence to showcase your talent whether it’s through blogging, video production or some other skill. More and more, however, people in other professions are also using their social media profiles as quasi-portfolios. Did you receive recognition at work? Proud of a new project that you just completed? Sharing it may just catch a recruiter’s eye!4. Ask for help!​Social media is one of those things that everyone does – but not everyone does well.

If you are trying to improve your social media presence in a way that will benefit your career path, then it makes sense to get some coaching.

Working with a career coach that can help you showcase your strengths and sincerity will help to make sure that you approach social media with balance and positivity. Do this, and recruiters will notice!*

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