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Published on August 27th, 2015 | by Guest Contributor

5 Ways Your Social Media Profiles Can Influence Your Job Search

Social media is a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends, family and new acquaintances, but it can also cause issues with your job search if it’s not what employers want to see. Luckily, you can easily make your social media profiles attractive to employers and help you land that dream role at a great company by following a few easy steps.

A social media profile that showcases the best of who you are in an authentic way, while avoiding some of the downfalls and mistakes that social media can make easy to commit, will help you with your job hunt. Here are five things to consider when putting your best foot forward online:

  1. Don’t post offensive content: This should be a given, but it’s important to remember that while the fun picture of you at the bar with your friends may not seem offensive to you, it could be to a company you want to work at. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t display it on your desk at work, it probably isn’t appropriate for a public social profile, either. And definitely make sure that you are not posting offensive content that could be hurtful to people!
  2. Check your privacy settings: Social media companies, like Facebook, tend to change their privacy settings all the time. That could mean that photos and statuses that you don’t want anyone but friends to see could be visible to more than just your desired audience. Check your settings on your social profiles and ensure that anything you don’t want prospective employers to see is carefully locked from view, or better yet, deleted or not posted online in the first place.
  3. Ensure that your profiles are up to date: Profiles that you do want prospective employers to see, like LinkedIn, should be updated and match the information that you are providing to the company (like your resume). Make sure these profiles are professional and include interesting content, like industry articles or infographics that may relate to the position you want.
  4. Check your blogs and videos: Even if you’re not an avid blogger or YouTube user, you may find that, from the point of view of an employer, some of the videos and blogs that you have liked and shared might reflect poorly on your character. Consider deleting any videos or blogs you have written or shared that may focus on subject matter you don’t want to share with employers. Alternatively, use a blogging platform that allows you to share the content you want to share privately. Just remember that nothing is truly private on the Internet!
  5. Keep your public social media content polite: Now almost all social media content, like public tweets and status updates, is searchable on Google. This means that the angry rant you tweeted to a customer service representative could be found by employers. A good rule of thumb is to act the same on social media as you would in person. Overly angry or impolite content can cost you that job you’re looking for.

Make sure that when you do use social media, you’re posting content that showcases who you are in the best light. Pictures of family, vacations, friends and hobbies are perfectly okay, and can even give an employer a better sense of who you are as a person and employee. Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn from colleagues, previous managers or professors. Even if you don’t have LinkedIn, these written recommendations can go a long way into influencing employers’ decisions.

Using social media responsibly will ensure that when you’re sending out your carefully-prepared resume to prospective employers, they’re not finding any red flags that could tarnish that great impression you’re trying to present along with your application.

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