The job market seems a pretty bleak place right now, especially for young people. We're running a series of blog posts called Get Ahead, Get A Job with advice on how you can get ahead of the game and land that dream job. First up: the power and pitfalls of Social Media.
I. Numbers matter
Raj Samani, chief technology officer for McAfee, a global data security company, wrote for the BBC in November of the trend among employers to place increasingly greater emphasis on the “social networking presence” of job applicants.
Samani says that in today’s job market, reputation can equal quantification. In plain English? Numbers matter. Meaning the number of Twitter followers, the number of Linkedin connections and endorsements and the number of friends on your Facebook profile could make you a more or less desirable candidate for a job.
While your online personality does not necessarily have a bearing on your real-life job skills, Samani says, your social media profile is a “shop window” potential employers will look into.
II. Maintain a healthy profile
Social media has surpassed being a trend and now simply ‘is.’ Sharing, liking and networking via the world wide web has become a part of the fabric of our lives. So much so, that forgetting the powerful ripples our tweets and posts have is sometimes dangerously easy to forget.
Social media allows us to connect with large networks of people in an instant, and what we say, what we do and what we look like can be accessible to millions of people. Therefore, it is essential to think twice about what you type into that text box before hitting ‘send.’
If you apply for a job, understand that your name, your photos and your rants will be searched by the organisation you have applied to. If they see anything that is undesirable, then you might lose the opportunity for an interview or position.
So use your common sense. It’s probably best not to post a profile photo showing your messy night with whiskey the week before. And when tweeting, imagine who will be reading what you write, and the potential it may have to cause offense to those who read it.
Better yet, use the privacy settings so your social media profiles are not available for all to see. (Facebook especially has a reputation for frequently changing security policies without explicitly notifying users, so be sure to check them frequently).
Above all, the best thing to do is to conduct yourself online just as you would face-to-face. Be yourself, but take care with what you say, what you do and who you spend your time with. If you are job-hunting, then put yourself in the shoes of any potential employer and remember what Samani said: you are a shop window. Put something nice behind it.
by Laura Liszewski
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