As a lowly college student I had taken an upper level technical writing course to get a break from the highly mathematical classes I had to take for my marketing degree. After months of writing grants, research papers, and learning about writing rhetoric, we moved onto skills that would aid our job search. This portion of class included resumes, cover letters, online portfolios, and social media. All of the skills were handy, but her knowledge about social media was a life saver.
More Companies Turning To Social Media
The number of companies actually using social media before hiring is unknown at this point. 2 surveys were conducted in 2012 that suggested that many companies were beginning to put a lot of stock in applicant’s social media profiles.
- The Jobvite survey: 92% of the companies reported that they currently were or were planning to use social media to screen job applicants.
- The CareerBuilder survey: 32% of the companies reported that they used social media; 11% reported that they planned to start.
Regardless of which survey best reflects the number of companies currently cyber stalking their potential employers, both surveys suggest that all job seekers should expect that they will be judged on more than their resume and interview.
Before you go out to seek your job, you should spend a few hours reviewing your social media sites. Any problem areas that you find should be deleted, altered, or set to be seen only by certain individuals. If you are a Facebook user, you can solve most of your problems by setting your account to private.
For those individuals who don’t want to change their settings, here are a few problem areas to look out for:
Txt n cht room lang. You need to go through your recent posts and delete or fix the ones that demonstrate lacks grammar and spelling. It may seem extreme, but 30% of the businesses surveyed by CareerBuilder based their decisions not to hire on poor communication skills.
Inappropriate Pictures. Pictures that depict any nudity, alcohol use, or drug use should be removed. If you have been tagged in inappropriate pictures you can send a request to Facebook that they be removed.
Drinking and Drug Use. You may be legally allowed to drink, but you should keep messages or pictures of the alcohol consumption from your social media pages. Companies expect your social media profiles to be professional. They do not want to hire employees that mention their recreational alcohol binges without a filter.
Bad Mouthing the Boss. Your old boss may be the devil incarnate, but you shouldn’t post inflammatory comments about him or her. Your new boss doesn’t need to know that you have a tendency to rant about everything that annoys you. Companies don’t want their current or former employees to tarnish the company name.
Using Social Media to Land That Job
As a job seeker, you should play their game. If they’re going to be snooping around your social media profiles, you might as well arrange for your social media presence to showcase your best features and skills. If you want that job, you can wow your future boss by:
- Linking to your professional blog on your social media profiles. Professional blogs are where you can post all of the documents, papers, and projects that prove that you can do the job you are applying to. You can also post about any updates that you made on your blog in order to get a natural link.
- Asking friends, family, and colleagues to post their personal references on your wall. You might want to ensure that the posts look natural and actually show you in a good light. If they look to contrived, than don’t allow them to post the message.
- Posting articulate and intelligent comments on a variety of topics. Employers like their employees to be well rounded. Now’s the time to prove that you’re interested in a variety of topics.
Social media can be your salvation or your doom. You don’t want you social media to betray you. You won’t regret spending a few hours cleaning up your social media presence, but you may regret not doing it.
Featured pictured by Shawn Campbell.