Social Media and the Job Hunt: Is It Hurtful or Helpful to Your IT Career?
By Perry Aaron, Manager of Career Services | CPCC, CEIP, CPRW
Social media has become a big factor in many of our lives. We are continually keeping track of what’s going on in our friends’ lives. We are looking for the latest trends. We are posting photos from our last family party. We are posting facts about our day, and commenting on the latest news story. We are doing all of this often forgetting about how it may affect our professional life, which may be helpful or hurtful.
A study conducted by the popular job board site CareerBuilder.com revealed that 39% of employers will use social media to research a candidate. And this is an increase from previous years. That means an employer will likely seek out your personal profile online before ever speaking to you. As they are reviewing your profile they are looking to see if you have posted inappropriate pictures, any evidence of drug use, have you bad mouthed a previous employer, and if they can find contradictions regarding your listed qualifications. And if any of this is found you can consider yourself disqualified from the position.
Keep in mind that it is not just prospective employers who are searching you out. Your current boss or coworker may be looking at you online as well. So, it is more important than ever to keep your online profile protected and safe. Be mindful about photos that are being taken of you. Remember that although you may not post them, someone else may. Even look to what is being posted on your virtual wall by others. A study by Microsoft revealed that 40% who used social media as a research tool, discounted a candidate because of something someone else posted. Be very mindful of what you are posting and what you are tagged in.
On the contrary, things found out about you online can aid in your job search or computer career. Perhaps all your qualifications are confirmed via this search, and the employer sees the professional persona you are trying to convey. You can heighten your profile with commentary on your specific field via industry blogs or by commenting on other professional postings. Be sure to use proper grammar and check your spelling, as communication skills are important to an employer. Most importantly you can expand your all-important network on line. Employers might be impressed by individuals you have chosen to align yourself with.
After reading this I urge you to do an internet search on yourself, and see what comes up. If it is something you don’t want an employer to see you may need to rethink what you are doing online. Keep in mind that next person to see you online may be the next person to help you move your career forward.