Social media can make or break your career. We've all heard at least one story of an employee getting fired over a Tweet or Facebook post. And when you apply to a job, most hiring managers will first turn to Google to vet your background and qualifications.
Whichever way you swing it, you can't avoid social media anymore, and how you manage — or don't manage — your social presence can make or break your job hunt. It's time to take control of your image and start thinking of social media as personal branding.
Why does it matter?
Managing a Twitter feed and updating your LinkedIn profile might not seem important, but these outlets have become strong elements in recruitment. If you have a lax attitude to your social media accounts, it can hurt you just as much as having no social presence at all.
According to a 2015 survey from CareerBuilder of more than 2,000 employers, "35-percent of employers say they are less likely to interview job candidates if they are unable to find information about that person online."
You might think keeping your personal profiles set to private is the right thing to do, but many employers are starting to view a lack of public social presence as a red flag.
Take control of your brand
It's important to be aware of your social presence and to take control of what you put out there. Recruiters aren't really searching for salacious details about your life; most are looking to confirm that your skills and qualifications make you the best person for the job.
John Jersin, former Google executive and current CEO of Connectifier, says "you should have updated and accurate information everywhere someone might look. It helps you look consistent and organized, but it also gives you an opportunity to briefly emphasize important parts of your resume."
And don't forget, just because hiring managers and recruiters might be checking your social profiles, that doesn't mean you can't take a look at theirs. Learning more about the company you are working for as well as the hiring manager or recruiter can better prepare you for the interview.
In CareerBuilder's survey, 76 percent of information technology recruiters and 64 percent of financial services recruiters turned to social media to find and vet potential candidates. Other industries that rely heavily on social media include sales, professional and business services, manufacturing, healthcare and retail. If you work in any of these industries, it's definitely time to take your social media seriously.
If you aren't actively searching for a new job, but are open to interesting positions, maintaining a strong social presence can help recruiters find you. Controlling your personal brand can help ensure that potential job offers come straight to your inbox, rather than finding job listings and applying directly.
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