Since the beginning of Friendster, the job search has benefited greatly from social media. Between the endless networking potential and almost-insider research that goes on every day on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, your time between jobs is shrinking.
Just because social media is a great tool for job searching doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own obstacles. Some job seekers who go on social media sites with good intentions could really be killing their chances of getting hired by making these mistakes:
You are an inconsistent user.
This is a common mistake that people make. You join a social networking platform, intent on posting on the hour, every day for the rest of your life. You go at that rate for three days and then something else distracts you. When you do this, your new followers or friends don’t know what to expect from you and tune out. There are some nifty scheduling tools like HootSuite that help you schedule your content out so that you can ensure consistency.
You’re mixing professional and personal uses.
With social media, it’s OK to mix professional and personal content. That said, there are a few things that should never overlap, particularly on the personal side of things. You might want to tell your friends about that kegger you went to, but it would be awkward if a prospective employer got wind of it too. New social media platforms like Google+ allow you to filter what you share with specific people.
You started something and walked away.
Being an inconsistent user is bad, but starting a profile and walking away is even worse. More and more employers are using search engines as their main screening tool. When they find your profile on a social media site, they want to learn about you. It’s discouraging to find a profile that has no picture, no information, or no activity. If having profiles on all the major networking sites is too much for you, delete the ones you can’t handle and work on keeping up a strong presence on others.
You neglected your privacy settings.
Uh-oh. It’s the cardinal rule of social media, and you forgot all about it. Your privacy settings are vital in your social media job search. While Twitter’s privacy settings are fairly simple (protect or not to protect), Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ all require some thought. Consider what you’ve been sharing and who you’d like to see that information.
You’re connecting with the wrong people.
It’s not like you’re Facebook friends with Darth Vader or Lord Voldemort (or maybe you are?), but sometimes your online friends or acquaintances can be toxic to your job search. If you have that one friend who tags you in inappropriate pictures or writes lewd things on your wall, it might be time to de-friend them. Additionally, if you’re not connecting with anyone, what’s the point of having a profile in the first place? Make a point to connect with colleagues, people with the job you want, employers at the companies you like, and mentors.
What do you think? What other ways can social media use hurt your job search? What have you done to prevent it? Share your thoughts!
Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Sean has dedicated his career to helping job seekers write their best resume. You can connect with Sean and the of the RezScore team on Facebook and Twitter.