Social media can be used to accomplish a variety of different ends. You can connect with your friends, set up events, share updates with your followers, and even promote yourself or your company.
However, can social media help you in your job search? Would it hurt your chances instead? We're going to take a closer look at these questions.
Some Recruiters Use Social Media To Screen Applicants
First, it's important to realise that some recruiters do use social media to screen job applicants. Moreover, in some cases some employers have chosen not to hire certain candidates because of what they found online.
Social media can work for you, but sometimes it can also work against you. Here are some upsides and downsides to think about.
How Social Media Might Help Your Job Prospects
One of the primary advantages of social media is that - like a website - it never shuts off; people can access it 24/7. This means that you can do other things while your next job finds you. It's a relatively passive but effective means of attracting the attention of employers.
In addition, social profiles are easy to update and keep maintained. You can share new happenings in your career periodically so that the people you are connected to are kept up-to-date.
Social media does allow you to make new contacts and discover new career paths as well. It's easy to find related industries, companies, and opportunities you may not have considered before.
There are times when employers are attracted to unconventional presentations; perhaps a YouTube video or a Slideshare PowerPoint. This is particularly true if your content goes viral, though for that to happen, it will have to be well-presented.
How Social Media Might Hurt Your Job Prospects
Let's face it; social media can be a bit of a time-waster. It's hard to stay focused and complete tasks without getting sidetracked. Moreover, though you can use social media as part of your plan, it shouldn't be your whole plan.
Though one of the advantages of social media is that you can share updates with your friends and followers, there are times when sharing too much information could result in getting overlooked for a job. You have to give careful thought as to what is appropriate to post and how often.
If you've posted any jokes about the old boss or you have any inappropriate pictures uploaded to your profile, those could prove counterproductive to your job prospects. If you are connected to anyone that often shares tasteless things, that could be a red flag as well. Association matters.
You also have to consider the fact that recruiters are likely going to look at more than one social profile of yours. Recruiters are going to do more than just look at your LinkedIn profile; they may check your Facebook and Twitter profiles too.
Additionally, searches could turn up old profiles that you haven't updated in years, and because it could make you look sloppy, that's something you have to watch out for.
Finally, no matter how dynamic and talented you are, it's difficult if not impossible to demonstrate all of your skills online. The whole of your person cannot be evaluated based on your online presence alone.