Before You Click Submit: Job Seekers and Social Networks
The heat is on! There are millions of job seekers searching and competing for new career opportunities this summer. Not long ago, job seekers mailed cover letters, resumes, and work samples to potential employers in hopes of landing an interview. Now seekers can submit their materials online to potential employers from the comfort of their homes or local libraries. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and countless other social media facets, employers have easy access to receiving a more intimate glimpse of their candidates before the interview process.
According to a Career Builder.com survey in 2009, 45 percent of 2,600 employers reported that they use social networking sites to screen job candidates. Eleven percent said they would begin to use networking sites as screening tools. The top industries most likely to screen job candidates online include specialists in information technology (63 percent) and professional and business services (53 percent).
So before you click submit, be cautious of your online image. The following are ways to filter your social networking sites.
- Remove photos, statuses, and links that can ruin your chance at landing a job. For example, do not apply for the project coordinator position with PETA if you are pictured wearing a mink coat and your update status says, “I wish I could get rid of my neighbor’s dog.”
- If a comment leaves you in doubt, block it out. Keep a close eye posts that your friends leave on your wall.
- Do not mention your job search if you are currently employed. Keep in mind that you will have to list your current employer on your application. Nothing hurts more than a bad referral from a current or past employer.
- Refrain from spilling explicit information about your private life. This is negative behavior that employers will not be pleased to have as part of their organization’s image.
- Do list your professional affiliated organizations that relate to your career search. Employers will feel that you are updated on current information that involves their expertise.
Keep in mind that you are not the only person striving to land their ideal job. Job searching is competitive, so revamp your social media profiles as if you know that a potential employer will see them. Someone is always watching!