Whether we like it or not, our social media profiles are part of our digital resume. In the same way we stay glued to Facebook for updates from our friends, family, and favorite celebrities, employers look at our social media profiles for clues into our character and qualifications. Strengthen the likelihood of landing the job you want by avoiding these social media don’ts for job seekers:
Don’t post questionable photos or statuses.
Becoming an online billboard for the TMI Rule will cement your place at the back of the unemployment line. Unless you’re applying for a job as a Hawaiian Topics bikini model, forego the body-baring photos. And be just as modest with the content of your statuses. If you want a professional position, skip the profanity.
Don’t publicize criticisms against current or former employers.
Slamming an employer via social media will squash your hireability faster than a snowball can melt on a summer day. Publicizing offensive comments about your employers paints you as disloyal and untrustworthy. If that weren’t enough, making disparaging and defamatory remarks could thrust you into legal hot water.
Don’t limit yourself to Facebook.
Utilize other social media platforms to increase your exposure. Technology pros should open a Google+ profile. Advertising, writing, and new-media job seekers should consider Twitter, and graphic designers should be on Pinterest. All professionals could benefit from creating a LinkedIn profile, a site that has earned a solid reputation as the premier social media resource for the workforce. LinkedIn also allows you to highlight your qualifications, job history, current career goals, and verifiable skills.
Don’t use words like “unemployed” or “job seeker” in your profiles.
Using these negative buzzwords brands you as someone who is permanently looking for work, rather than someone who is looking for his or her next great career move. Embrace your professional identity and portray it. Something like “freelance writer knowledgeable about food, fun, and frivolity” sums it up nicely.
Don’t just broadcast information.
Engage your audience! Ask questions about others and participate in their conversations. One of the easiest ways to get someone to notice you is to pay attention to them. Social media is a great way to network with other professionals, which can lead to job opportunities. In addition, you can use your online connections to find and share industry news; this is a fantastic way to illustrate that you are up to date on the latest industry trends.
There is a fine line between promoting yourself and being pretentious. Social media is an excellent medium to display your career achievements and work samples, but bombarding users with incessant “Me Me Me” posts is a major turnoff, especially to potential employers.
Don’t forget to proofread.
Social media profiles riddled with spelling and grammatical errors are just as detrimental to your employment search as finding these mistakes on a hard-copy resume. Generally, two resume mistakes is the maximum allowed by hiring managers before your resume gets canned. Apply this same rule to your social media profiles.
Don’t abandon your profiles.
“If you build it, they will come,” but if you don’t update it, an employer won’t stick around. Although starting profiles on the major social media sites can be an effective way to penetrate your market, failing to dutifully update these accounts is worse than not having them at all. Being associated with half-finished and rarely updated profiles makes you appear lazy and unfocused.
When managing your social media profiles, remember that whatever you post online stays online, whether or not you delete it. The Library of Congress has been archiving public tweets (http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2013/01/update-on-the-twitter-archive-at-the-library-of-congress/) since 2006. As of October 2012, they log nearly half a billion tweets on a daily basis