8 Social Media Blunders that Sink a Job Search

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Let’s say you are looking for a new job or a promotion at your current job.  If your prospective new boss pulls up your Facebook page, will he/she see photos of you drinking scotch from the bottle and a caption that says “Drink till you die”?  Or will your current employer see a post that reads: “I hate my job, the boss is a jerk!” on your Facebook page?

These days, social media can be a help or a hindrance to your job search. Social media sites are not hidden.

Anything you post is likely to be seen.  Most hiring managers search candidates’ online presence and that includes social networking. You will want to do the same.

A basic search of your name is a good place to start. What does the search reveal?  How deep are the results?

Do you find one or two pages, or one or two lines?  What does the search reveal about you? Remember, just because your Facebook posts don’t show up in the initial search doesn’t mean information posted there is inaccessible.  In fact, for some companies, that may be where the search begins. Be smart about your online presence and you will outsmart the competition.

1.  Wide Open Profiles.

This is the kind of mistake that makes the others mistakes relevant. Keeping a closed or mostly closed profile on your non-career social media sites while job searching is a good idea.

2.  Friend Requesting Your Interviewer.

Don’t send a friend request to your interviewer. Maybe your the type of person who friend requests everyone you meet. Maybe you think it will help your chances of getting the job. Unfortunately, friend requesting your interviewer is more likely to work against you, since very few of us will look more professional on facebook than in the interview.

3.  Inappropriate Language.

Remember your old English teacher’s admonition that you must pay attention to the written word?  That remains true for writing on the web.  Writing how you talk is not the best advice in the midst of your job search.  Think of any written communication as a tiny billboard communicating your assets to hiring managers investigating your online presence.  Inappropriate language definitely includes profanity, so clean it up to strengthen your job search.

4.  Non-PC Statements.

Your social media pages may feel protected or hidden from the general public, but as with anything on the Internet, once it is there, you lose all control of the information.  “Think twice and type once” might be a good reminder the next time you are posting.  Any Internet-based communication is open to the world and may be misconstrued.  Think about the last time you tried to tell a joke or explain a sensitive situation via email.  The recipient of cyber-messages may not interpret what was meant as a short-hand explanation in the same way you intended.

5.  Negative Comments about your Current Employer.

The supposed sanctity of social media sites can lead many people to develop a false sense of security. As mentioned, social media sites are not completely private.  If you are ranting about your current place of employment, the consequences of doing so “in print” are likely to be much more negative for you than the employer.  Hiring managers typically avoid anyone whose posts suggest a difficult disposition, rather than the appearance of a team player.

6.  Unflattering Photos.

Everyone knows drunken holiday party photos will sabotage your job search, but you should be cautious about the content of all photos you post.  Public displays of affection, nudity, or any documentation of “unusual” behavior are likely to halt successful job leads.  Check with your “friends” on Facebook as well to make sure there aren’t photos on their pages that may cast you in an unflattering light.

7.  Off-color humor.

The Internet is not the local bar or pub.  You’re not just making jokes with people who already know you well and will forgive slips of the tongue.  If negative comments are all that the hiring manager knows of you, you are likely to be seen negatively.

8.  Conflicts between your profile and resume.

Make sure there is no major differences between your career oriented social networking profiles, and your resume. This can be as simple as updating a former employer’s company name to its new name if it was changed. Check the details thoroughly on both, making sure the dates match, the company names match, and the responsibilities and accomplishments match

 

Don’t jeopardize your job search by ignoring potential negative impressions from your online presence.  Social media sites are routinely accessed as part of the screening process so get rid of any questionable photos or posts. Beware of social media blunders by taking a smart look at your online presence as if through the eyes of the hiring manager, and you can remove barriers to your next position.

 

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Doostang News March 7: Small Things that Make a Big Difference in Your Job Search

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Sometimes the path to your dream career isn’t about the big moves you’re supposed to make, but rather, is riddled with the little ones.  The great thing about small steps is that you have no excuse not to take them – you can always find a moment to work on your job search.  Here are a few minor things you can be doing to land your next position:

Create an Email Account Designated for Your Job Search

If you haven’t done so already, consider creating an email address solely for your job search.  The first thing you should do is to choose an address that is professional – this will look far better on your resume and when you reach out to employers.  Doing so will also allow you to keep all your job search materials in one place, and will prevent your personal emails from posing a distraction.

Review Your Resume

Take a few minutes of down time to scan your resume and make sure that it’s polished and up-to-date.  You may not have caught all of the typos when you originally put it together, so pay particular attention to spelling and grammar.  Also check that your dates and current contact information are correct.  It’s especially helpful to have an outsider review your resume to catch all the small (or big) issues that you might have missed, so ask some friends for feedback or get a professional critique.

Revise Your Facebook Page

Because so many employers are now turning to social networking sites to see what additional information they can dig up about each potential hire, it’s important to put your best foot (or face) forward.  Make sure that you have appropriate privacy settings in place, and take down any pictures that you wouldn’t want your next boss to see.

Practice Your 30 Second Interview

It’s important to practice your 30 Second Interview, or elevator speech, when you have a moment.  This will ensure that you’re less likely to trip up the next time you’re in a situation where someone takes an interest in your career path.

Network

Take a few moments to find some key contacts that can help you in your career search.  Consider your alumni network or find the contact information of someone at a company you wish to work for.  Send out a quick email to set up a time to ask for some advice, or simply try to establish rapport by reaching out with a question.

Enroll in a Class

If your dream job requires knowledge or skills that you don’t yet possess, enroll in a class that will bring you up to speed.  Once you make that initial commitment to go, you’ll be one step closer to the career you want.

There are a multitude of little things you can do throughout the day that will advance your job search.  So when you have some free time, be proactive and do something small that can make a big difference.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang News November 15: How Social Networking Sites Can Help You Land Your Next Job

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You’re likely aware of the necessary precautions to take when posting certain information to your Facebook or Twitter profile.  After all, a scandalous picture or status update can doom your chances of bagging a respectable job, especially as more and more hiring managers take to social networking sites to screen prospective employees.  Even though these platforms started out as tools for the youth to connect and share information, they’re slowly starting to lose their youthful flavor.  In fact, social networking is one of the most effective ways to find and land a job these days, and here’s why:

Connect with Relevant People

The open nature of online networking gives you access to a multitude of people you wouldn’t have had the ability to contact otherwise – people who may just hold the keys to your future.  After a little bit of research to determine who the hiring managers and other key figures are, you can then track these people down on websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.  It’s not unusual to reach out to people you don’t know on a social networking site, especially if you introduce yourself in an appropriate manner.  If you don’t have a friend in common that can make the introduction for you, start off with an initial dialogue that explains who you are and what you’re looking for.  It’s best if you can offer something that the other person might need, like an article relevant to their interests or an introduction to someone they might like to get to know – after all, social networking sites are all about sharing information and connecting with people, so they’re liable to appreciate the gesture.  Establish a good rapport with your contact first, and then go ahead and ask about available positions; if there aren’t any, stay tuned, because hiring managers often turn to their networks with opportunities before posting them on job boards.  Moreover, a human connection will be more likely to ensure that your application is actually seen by someone, instead of disappearing into the digital vortex that is online resume submission.

Build Your Personal Brand

No matter what a search result yields when you enter your name, it’s nice to have control over this content.  So another way to use social media to your advantage is to become an avid producer of content that is helpful to others.  Doing so conveys that you are current, involved, and in the know.  You may find that others approach you with opportunities once you gather a following on a blog or various social networking sites; alternatively, you can use this content to supplement your job applications.  You can also use this material as a conversation starter, reaching out to others with articles you have written that they might find interesting.

Be an Active Community Member

Take advantage of the enormous Twitter community and start reaching out to people and having conversations.  Twitter allows you to communicate and share information with everyone from your neighbor to Lady Gaga, so sign up today and start conversing with key players in your target industry.  Once you become embedded in the community, you can also reach out to followers who now know and trust you, and seek out opportunities.

Get “Linked In”

Many individuals spend hours crafting the perfect Facebook profile, but stop short when it comes to filling out a page on LinkedIn.  However, it’s important to take the time to upload your resume, gather references if you can, and connect with as many people as possible.  Since the premise of the website is to establish an online professional network, you won’t seem awkward or boring when you reach out to people with career related matters.  Another feature you should take advantage of is LinkedIn groups – join the ones that are relevant to you and become an enthusiastic contributor.  The more involved you are, the more likely you are to stand out and garner opportunities that become available.

Networking is a crucial part of the job search, and online networking makes that process much easier.  Staying up to speed with various social networking sites is sure to make a world of difference in a job search, and is something every job seeker should pursue to some degree.

Stay connected,
The Doostang Team




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