Is social media helping or harming your job search?

24 Apr 2017

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are powerful when it comes to looking for work, but how you use them could help or harm you!

How can it help you secure that job!
Most employers are now turning to social media when they recruit and therefore building a professional online presence is crucial! The skill is to use your social media profiles to express your personality and to capture all that you can offer a potential employer. It’s important for the viewers of your profile to know that you are far more than just a series of fun posts telling everyone what you ate for dinner. Those posts are great, but make sure that they also see the richness of who you are. Your profile should express your values, skills and passion.

Here are some examples of ways in which you can do this:

- You could post links to articles that interest or inspire you
- Demonstrate your writing skills by posting an extract of your work
- Include details of the qualifications you hold or short courses you have completed
- Post pics of a charity event you volunteered at

Think about all of the positive things that combine to make up who you are and try to encapsulate that on your profiles.

Social media is also a great way to network. Follow and Like companies that interest you and network with friends, a great way to secure employment.

Things to be careful of – don’t fall into the traps!
It’s a good idea to make use of each platform’s privacy settings, but they are not completely secure. Did you know that everything you post online stays on the internet forever? Even if you delete what you post, it is still out there somewhere! You may be posting something with your friends in mind, but remember that anyone may in fact see it. Recruiters say that many people lose a job opportunity based on what is found online. It’s worth following a simple rule, if you are not happy for anyone to read or see it, rather don’t post it at all.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Your choice of profile picture is important. Perhaps re-think that bikini shot! Choosing something a little more conservative is wiser and the same applies to all pics that you decide to post.
  • When you write, express yourself carefully. Remember that things can be taken out of context and be cautious when dealing with controversial or divisive subjects.
  • Avoid posting online when you are upset, angry or have been drinking alcohol. It’s also a good idea to be cautious about sharing personal information
  • Avoid negativity. It’s very unappealing when people complain about their work, other people etc.
  • If you are unemployed, be careful how you portray this. You want to let people know you are available and to network, without coming across as desperate.

Lastly, it may seem unfair but the company we keep does influence other people’s perceptions of us. Be aware of what your contacts on social media are posting, particularly if they are tagging you. This will impact on your online presence!

Author: Kim Elliott
Editor: Thembakazi Yamiso