Social media profiles are an increasingly important element of the job search. With over one billion people on Facebook and over half a billion tweets being sent every day and counting, social media plays a role not only in people's personal lives but also in the business world. If you're in the job market, managing your own social media profile is vital since you never know who's checking up on you.
Protect Your Social Media Reputation
Anyone with an Internet connection can see anything you post publicly on social media sites. More than that, they can see anything your friends post publicly. Just assume that hiring managers and job recruiters are taking a look at your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and Twitter feed, and set your privacy settings accordingly. Delete or make private any embarrassing photos or comments. Be careful about when you post to social media sites, as hiring managers may want to see whether you tend to post during working hours. Don't say anything negative online about prior employers, don't divulge company information and avoid argumentative or vulgar comments. Your social media profile is more than just your nicely formatted resume on LinkedIn – it's actually everything you say on any social media platform, so don't let your Facebook photos or tweets work against you in your job hunt.
Stay Connected and Professional
Given the potential pitfalls, it might be tempting to avoid social media altogether. That's also a mistake, however. In an era where everyone is connected, hiring managers are often a little leery of job candidates who have no social media presence whatsoever. Stays connected, but tailor your social media profile to make yourself look as professional as possible. Keep your LinkedIn account active and updated, and make sure you have a presence on social media sites, forums or message boards specific to your field. Point out career achievements and accomplishments on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and be quick to cheer on your colleagues as well.
Turn the Tables and Do Your Own Research
Job seekers aren't the only ones with social media profiles. Turn the tables on those hiring managers by checking out the companies in which you're interested using their social media profiles. Use Twitter hashtags to get job listings sent straight to your phone, and take advantage of the many features offered by LinkedIn and other business-related sites aimed at job seekers. Pore through the Facebook pages and company blogs of any businesses where you plan to interview, and learn a little about the people you might interview with to help you make a personal connection.
Remember, your social media profile is a representation of who you are in real life. When you're in the middle of a job search, your social media profile can hinder you or help you, depending on how professionally you manage it. Since social media isn't going away any time soon, harness its power and connectivity to help you advance in your career.