Social Media Sites & Employers

Be Advised:
More Employers are Searching Social Media Sites!

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“You are what you share.”

~ C.W. Leadbeater ~

Client Isaac Asks: I work in the IT industry, and I’m preparing to search for a new position. I know that some companies are using Google to check out prospective employees. Should I be worried about this, and if so, what steps can I take to make sure prospective employees don’t find anything that could hurt me?

Coach Joel Answers: Employers don’t just use Google to check out job candidates, they’re relying more on social networking. In fact, a study conducted by CareerBuilder found that 37 percent of employers use social mediasites to research potential job candidates.

Information technology companies are most likely to screen candidates this way. Some 63 percent of tech companies surveyed are scouring sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace to get an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at candidates they just can’t get from interviewing or reading resumes.

So if you’re in the job market – or may be in the future – be aware of what you put out on the Internet. If it’s out there – good or bad – it’s just a mouse click away from a hiring manager.

And the results can be catastrophic. CareerBuilder’s survey revealed that 35 percent of employers found social mediacontent that caused them not to hire a candidate.

With that in mind, here are some tips:

  • Google your name to see what content is out there on the internet.
  • Check out the other major social networks to make sure you have made the impression you want to make.
  • Identify the web pages where you have posted your resume or other work-related items and make sure they are up-to-date and reflect on you positively.
  • Remove any content that reflects negatively on you. You don’t want a bad reputation online.
  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs or information top the list of red flags to employers. When in doubt, take it out.
  • Create positive content about yourself and try to get it to be as high as possible in the search results.
  • Write and submit well researched, articulate letters-to-the-editor to the top trade publications in your industry. Focus on current, relevant issues.
  • Purchase your name as a domain name and create an active website that makes the best impression possible.
  • Post articles that you write that show your expertise on free publisher websites.
  • Write comments on other blogs that show your level of intelligence, expertise and experience.
  • Create a blog and write quality content for it.

Select two of the above tips and commit to working on them this week to ensure that your online presence gives a positive impression.

Talkback: Have you ever been denied a job or promotion because of something an employer found online? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image courtesy of hh5800 / iStockphoto.com

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