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Some say that social media may limit your chances of securing a job, and you should therefore avoid it during a job hunt. You may have even heard that you should deactivate your accounts when you're looking for a new job. However, unless you are irresponsible with your use of social media, that advice is off base.
It goes without saying, of course, that you shouldn't be publicly-or privately, for that matter-publishing potentially embarrassing photos of yourself on Facebook and Twitter, or posting statuses that contain fiery language or questionable subject matter. Social media, however, can be an exceptionally valuable tool in your job hunt-you simply have to leverage it effectively.
There's no getting around the fact that employers are increasingly using social media as a tool in both recruiting and hiring job candidates, with 43 percent of companies reporting doing so, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder this past summer. Yet more often than not this sort of social media background check yields unflattering results. The same survey found that more than half of all employers who researched job seekers online found material that prompted them to no longer consider the candidates for the jobs to which they applied.
What can you do? Quite a bit, as it turns out.
First, you should Google yourself. This might sound a bit narcissistic, but it'll give you some actionable insight into what an HR representative will see when he or she does just that. If your public LinkedIn profile comes up as the first result, for instance, you can make that your initial target.
Now that you know where your Google results stand, you should spend a significant amount of time building your presence on LinkedIn. Start by selecting an appropriate, professional photo, and then move on to expanding your online resume, making sure to research and include keywords and skills that employers are looking for. Take care to optimize your resume for the professional social network, choosing strong action verbs and quantifying your prior career and academic successes.
Once your LinkedIn profile is recruiter-ready, move on to your Facebook and Twitter profiles. If you don't have accounts on either social network, it's not a bad idea to create them. Nowadays, social media skills are highly coveted, and many employers want job candidates to be engaged in the digital world, according to a Capgemini Consulting study.
If you already have Facebook and Twitter accounts, then you should conduct a thorough review not only of the content you've published, but also the photos, wall posts, and tweets that others have shared with you. Now is your best chance to delete questionable material that doesn't reflect your professional side.
Following your profile editing, it's up to you to decide what you want to share and with whom. Take time to carefully consider what you'd like to share before locking down your profile. If you're applying for engineering jobs and your Twitter account only features thoughtful, engineering-related Tweets, then it could work to your advantage to keep your profile public.
You might also want to consider keeping certain Facebook posts or personal information public, while locking other portions of your profile. If a recruiter views your Facebook profile and comes across your educational background and informational posts in which you speak eloquently on any manner of topics, they could be more likely to view you in a positive manner.
We're living in an age where social media is everywhere. While you can always put up blinders and remove yourself from the conversation, why would you want to? Instead, think about how you can dictate that conversation and use it to your professional advantage. For additional tips on how to use social media to your advantage, take a look at this video featuring Michael Fertik, online reputation management expert and CEO of Reputation.com.
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And if you are considering pursuing higher education we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University’s programs and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.It is important to note that certain career paths are growing and our degrees are designed to strengthen your knowledge and prepare our students to advance their careers. But Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. Several factors specific to a student’s or alumni’s backgrounds and actions, as well as economic and job conditions, affect employment. Also, keep in mind that national long-term projections covered in articles may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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