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Looking for a new job? Avoid these social media mistakes

May 06, 2015

By Alissa Green

May means many things. Spring flowers. Memorial Day. And an influx of college graduates who want to take the professional world by storm. Before you send out that resume, however, here are five must-read tips about how to manage your social media presence whether you’re looking for your first job or your fifth.

  • Spellcheck. This one may seem obvious, but it’s incredible the number of résumés and social media profiles I’ve read where a word is misspelled or an entire word is missing. It’s a deal-breaker for many managers, but not for the reason you may think. We actually don’t need our new-hires to be spelling bee champions. Nah. We just don’t want to be a babysitter. We want an employee who doesn’t need his or her hand held. Bad spelling can happen to anyone. But it’s the strong employee who takes the time and care to make his/her content perfect.
  • Scrub your social media profile with soap. Or, you know, a delete button/privacy setting. First, consider how you want to use all your social channels. Is Twitter how you connect with influencers? Is Instagram just for friends? Consider whether each channel should be public or private and curate your content accordingly. Pay special attention to Facebook since it has such high SEO (the ability to show-up high in search) and shows up first thing in search. Recently, I reviewed a resume from a potential candidate who seemed great until I saw her Facebook post about getting a new job three months previously. Can you say red flags?
  • Avoid politics, religion, bad jokes and anything incendiary on your public profiles. Again, it comes down to the goal/purpose behind each channel. While you may feel strongly for/against Hilary Clinton or Jeb Bush, if you use Twitter to connect with influencers, you should likely avoid expressing incendiary opinions. Save that for your private Facebook page. Also, keep in mind that content (especially jokes!) within social media can often be misinterpreted. For reference, see the Justine Sacco PR crisis and the recent firestorm new Daily Show host-to-be Trevor Noah experienced.
  • Don’t complain about your job or your coworkers. Some days, venting seems the only way you can move forward without exploding. These are good days to call your mother or best bud; these aren’t good days to go rouge on social channels. It’s crazy how long the internet remembers. You definitely don’t want to look like an anti-team player to potential employers by bashing your current job or teammates. Days you feel terrific about work, though? Gloat away!
  • Develop a social presence. Period. While there are certainly a variety of smart tips when it comes to your social presence, one of the worst mistakes you can make is not having one. Anyone who’s not on LinkedIn is missing out on tons of recruitment opportunities. Anyone not on Twitter is missing the chance to connect with industry experts. There are also sites like About.me that enable you to increase your name’s SEO and connect all your social profiles in one place. While there are certainly professions where a social presence isn’t vital, for many it’s the first place employers go to learn more about candidates. Why not make a great first impression?