The downside of social media and job hunting

social media talk
social media talk
Photo credit: blooma, Shutterstock

In a world where so much of what we do goes back to social networks, it can be hard to focus on the downsides and negatives of making social media part of the job search. A CareerBuilder survey found that 37% of employers use social media to screen potential candidates, according to an article on Forbes, and 34% of those employers have found content on social sites that led them to not hire someone.

The Frederick News-Post in Frederick, MD, recently shared some tips on how to keep your personal and professional social networks separate, and how to balance that line.

What seems like safe territory to you might not be the same for others. For example, election season is well known for stirring up arguments. Be careful what you broadcast, or you may annoy your friends to the point of unfriending. On the other hand, maybe you have a strong opinion about a boycott or a scam that you’d like to hear others’ opinions about. That’s fine, but only in your personal space. Keep a careful eye on your privacy settings to make sure that the kinds of things you wouldn’t want your boss to see aren’t right out in the open.

Keeping Your Professional Life Professional

If you’re in charge of a business social media presence, don’t let too much personality shine through. This doesn’t mean you need to sound stiff and robotic. However, the personality that you should be showing is the face of your business, not your own personal side. If there’s no brand image or voice already determined, make sure you draft that first before designing professional social media presence. You need to come off consistently and professionally, even on a casual medium like Facebook or Twitter, so craft your voice with care.

For me, I keep my Twitter public and keep my posts professional—things that I wouldn’t mind my boss or a potential employer to read—while my Facebook is “friends only.” People can search and see that I have a page, my profile picture, and some basic information, and if a work connection asks to friend me, I politely send them to LinkedIn. However, also remember that all of your friends can see (and potentially share) your posts and photos on Facebook. It’s best to not post R-rated things anyway.

How about you? Has social media burned you in the past? What advice do you have for keeping your personal and professional social media profiles separate?

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Social Media and Editorial Intern at Idealist.org
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