How Social Media can hinder your job search

5 social media mistakes

Do you understand how Social Media works? If you don’t, it can be hindering your job search – seriously.

Recently I spent time with a group of University students discussing the role of social media in business. We were working through a case study and some of the questions raised were around how a business uses social media for networking and recruitment. Not one student in the class recognised that businesses use social media to screen potential employees. Imagine their surprise when I pointed out that a 2012 survey conducted by Jobvite, reported that 92% of employers use or plan to use social networks when recruiting, and that even if a candidate didn’t supply them with social media details, such as a LinkedIn profile, 73% will conduct a candidate search anyway. Needless to say, we spent a great deal of time during the lesson talking about what they should do to ensure they were looked upon favourably by investigative employers and recruiters.

5 social media mistakes that can impact your job search

1. Constantly posting during work hours.

Prospective employees will notice if your status updates are coming thick and fast during working hours. This will give them the impression that if you were to work for them you would be wasting your time on social media when you should be working. If you are currently in the workplace and looking to switch jobs, start paring down your social media activity and keep posts to a minimum during work hours – aim to contain them to before work, after work and during lunch breaks. If you are entering the workforce and your job search is just beginning, start showing restraint on your social media to demonstrate discipline.

2. Sharing offensive materials.

What we are talking about here is anything to do with racism, bigotry, homophobia, violence and cruelty against anything. There is no room for it on your public profiles, keep these beliefs and practices, if you must have them, private.

3. Bagging out your employer, co-workers or boss.

The rule of thumb here is quite simply don’t – save it for the pub with your mates. Unless you have your privacy settings set to Alcatraz level and you are not friends with anyone associated with your place of employment, they will find out. People can and do get fired for this indiscretion and if you think that’s unfair – check your employment contract. If it’s worth its salt, it will have a clause in there about bringing the company into disrepute.

4. Not being on Social Media at all.

At a minimum get your LinkedIn profile up to date with a profile pic of you looking professional. The depth of your social media profile really does depend on the role you are going for and the industry it is in. But as a rule of thumb, if you are looking to get into communications, advertising, marketing or social media and you don’t have a robust social media profile, then forget about it.

5. Posting photos of you naked, drunk, engaging in risky behaviour etc.

In the moment you might think it’s funny, but months down the track when you realise a potential employer has seen that photo of you semi-naked, drunk and hanging from a bridge you will realise how bad it looks. If you have friends who post photos without your knowledge, you have a couple of simple options. Ask them to not post photos of you onto social media or lock down your settings so you must approve them before they go onto your newsfeed. If your friends don’t respect your wishes, time to get new friends.

Are there other social media blunders hindering your job search? We’d love to hear from you.

About Zena Churchill

Zena Churchill is a Director at Max & Buddy Consulting. She has worked in senior level business roles across national and multinational corporations, as well as being a small business owner. Zena is a strategic thinker and brings a practical, straight-forward approach to marketing and social media. She has a passion for training & development running practical business workshops for small business. Zena is a Certified Practising Marketer (AMI), sometimes tutors in Marketing at the University of Wollongong and is a Senior Consultant with Trinity P3.

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