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Is your social media presence hurting your job search?

Sarah K. White | May 28, 2015
You hear a lot about what you shouldn't post on social media, but employers are starting to grow weary of hiring candidates who lack a social presence all together. Take control of your brand by balancing your personal and professional image to attract recruiters.

You should take note of not only LinkedIn as a strong recruitment platform, but Twitter as well. More recruiters are turning to Twitter to find potential candidates, and it is quickly becoming a resource for job seekers and recruiters.

In a recent study, Twitter was cited as having more job listings than any other platform, and 174 of the companies on the Fortune 500 have a dedicated Twitter account for recruitment. Your Twitter profile might not only help you find an opening with a company, but it might help the company find you.

[Related: 13 top recruiting software platforms]

A little mystery is good

Don't run off and unlock all of your social media profiles right away. Some things are better left private, such as your Facebook profile or a personal Twitter account.

Dawn Edmiston, clinical associate professor of marketing at the College of William and Mary, says "I would definitely wonder about the background of a tech professional who had zero presence on social media, rather than the individual who has a well-managed LinkedIn and Twitter presence, but prefers that their personal social media such as Facebook remains private."

The keyword here is "well-managed," try to draw a line between your professional image and your personal image. Keeping your Facebook account private is probably a smart idea, but you might consider having two separate Twitter accounts — one professional and one personal.

What are they looking for?

The CareerBuilder study also revealed the top five things recruiters are looking for in your social profile, which includes inappropriate photos, alcohol or drug use, negative posts about past employers or coworkers, a lack of communication skills as well as  any discriminatory or inflammatory content regarding race, gender, religion, and other issues.

"Forty-eight percent of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they've found information that caused them not to hire a candidate — down slightly from 51 percent last year," according to CareerBuilder.

However, the survey also revealed what type of social content made recruiters move forward with a candidate. This included any background information that supported the candidate's qualifications, signs that the candidate's personality would be a good fit for the company, a professional image, strong communication skills, and creativity.

Proving to recruiters that you can maintain professionalism on social media is a good sign that you will carry that over into your working life.

[Related: 5 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Your Career Prospects]

Time to get on board

If you're waiting to see if social media is a passing phase, you're going to be left behind. Recruiters using social media to find candidates has gone up 43 percent since last year and 39-percent since 2013, according to CareerBuilder.


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