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Is Social Media Presence Hurting Your Job Search?

There are so many potential factors that can affect your job search, from the quality of your cover letter to the content of your resume and the strength of your handshake. Even when you feel like you’ve done everything right and made a great impression, you can still come in second to another job seeker.

The reality is that the tech job market is so competitive that you can’t afford to give a potential employer a single reason to dismiss you. Your social media presence might very well be one of those reasons. Everything on the internet is public to some extent, and the content that employers can see when they search your name can help you get the job or immediately take you out of the running. Below, we investigate why your social presence matters for your IT job search and what you can do to put your best foot forward.

Why Your Social Presence Matters
A recent CareerBuilder survey reports that potential employers screening candidates via social has reached an all-time high of 70%, more than 10 points higher than it was just 12 years ago. Even when your social channels aren’t provided, three in four hiring managers will check out your profiles during the hiring process. The same way you’re googling companies before you apply, they’re searching your name, and your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram profiles often show up within the first few search results.
This means that your resume isn’t the only history those employers are seeing, and you need to review your social profiles with a similar level of care and attention. Keep in mind – simply deleting them won’t do the trick, as 57% of employers are less likely to give an interview to a candidate they can’t locate online. A complete lack of social presence can point to the idea that you’re not technologically literate, which is particularly dangerous for IT job-seekers. The key is to present your best self in an appropriate and approachable way that will show employers you’re a professional who’s worth talking to.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Your social media profile is about maintaining your professional brand and presenting yourself as someone who companies will want to hire. This doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself, just that you should present yourself in the best light and steer away from topics that might be offensive or off-putting. Use these three tips to keep your best foot forward on social media.
1. Keep it Professional
Professionalism starts with what you post: the content, the subject matter, and the way you talk. Think twice before posting about politics or religion and avoid engaging in the kinds of controversial debates that we all see on our Facebook news feeds. If you have any pictures that wouldn’t earn a G rating, take them down. Avoiding these basic things can help you stay away from several of the top reasons employers reject candidates based on social media.
In addition, think about what your writing says about you as a professional. Even though you type casually in your status updates, the ability to communicate clearly reflects well on you as a tech pro. Make sure to proofread your posts and even choose a handle presents you as a real person – not referencing your favorite TV show or animal. If you’re looking to step up your game, try these guides to help you write well and evaluate what you post.
2. Promote Your Personal Brand
How do you want someone who finds your social media to see you? What do you want a potential employer to think when they see your profile during your job search? As much as we think about how social media can hurt your tech job hunt, it can also do wonders to help you. Talk about the new skills you’re learning, the networking events you’re attending, and your other activities as well. Showing your volunteerism and personal life, in a professional way, can humanize you with employers who may otherwise see you as just your resume.
3. Understand What Privacy Means
Start by checking out the privacy settings on all of your social channels. It’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with sharing. On LinkedIn, you may want potential employers (and the general public) to be able to see all of your information, where on Facebook you may want them only to see a basic profile. In general, though, know that nothing is truly private. Anything that has been posted, regardless of how many people you think can see it, could end up anywhere.

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