Understanding Your Social Job Search

September 17th, 2013

A recent study found that nearly 40% of employers use social media to screen potential job candidates. Potential employers are looking for you on social media, which means two things: 1) If you’re not actively searching for jobs on social media, you’re missing out, and 2) You should be carefully honing your social presence to put your best foot forward for employers.

Social Media Job SearchThose are two of the “cardinal rules” to consider when it comes to your social job search. To ensure your social media accounts aren’t working against you, try following these tips: 

  • Update (and check) your privacy settings. Social privacy settings are there to protect you from unwanted eyes on your personal information, but they can be tricky to maintain. In particular, Facebook frequently updates its privacy settings, and often times your settings are set to their default after the changes are made (often leaving your posts and pictures public until you update them again). Stay diligent about privacy settings and check them frequently.
  • Expect zero privacy. Are you absolutely certain that there aren’t any pictures of you online that are publicly available? Maybe you wrote some online reviews a few years ago for your favorite band? The fact is, whether you have updated your privacy settings or not, employers can still find plenty of information about you to make decisions on your hirability and character.
  • Understand you have (limited) protection from the law. Employers are prohibited from making hiring decisions or discriminating because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy status, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. However, you are not protected from an employer drawing conclusions regarding, for example, your professionalism or good judgment based on what is publicly available about you online.
  • Take control of your name. If you’re not on all social media sites, you could potentially lose “your name” on those sites. So go into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and About.me and set up basic profiles (using the same professional image for each profile). This prevents confusion if someone else by your name is the first person to show up in a search by recruiters (and also prevents someone with a poor reputation from potentially affecting your job search).

What other tips or tools have you used to enhance your social job search? Here at Helpmates, we work with candidates to put their best foot forward, online and in traditional resumes and job interviews. To find your next career opportunity, search our available jobs in Southern California or contact us today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Pixomar

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