More and more employers are searching for potential job candidates on social media. I have written hundreds of articles on interview questions and many ask behavioral or situational questions to find out what you are really like. From political interests, to who your friends are, social media is one more step an employer can take to find out everything and anything about you. Below are the top ten mistakes that you never want to make on your social networks.
Top Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media
1) Delete any negative posts you have written.
Once I was on a flight home and the airline I had been flying had been delayed again. I sent them a rather frustrated tweet. Months later I searched my name on Google and found a public link to my Twitter account. I clicked on the link and saw my airline rant. I thought to myself, “who would want to hire this bitter and angry person?” I promptly deleted the tweet.
Businesses need feedback and social media is a great way to receive that feedback. However, if the feedback is negative, you are better off to message them directly and not making it public. If you want to make your feedback public make sure it is constructive and positive.
2) Don’t broadcast resume updates on LinkedIn.
This applies more to people who are currently employed. If you do update your resume and have a job be sure to disable what you broadcast. In fact, LinkedIn will even email others when you update your profile. The last thing you want is an email sent to your boss stating that you updated your resume. To disable this feature simply go into the privacy and settings option and be sure to turn off your activity broadcasts, and disable others from seeing who can view your activity feed.
3) Not having a Facebook or Twitter account
Employers check Facebook for one reason — to see what you are really like. LinkedIn is a great application to build a professional profile but does it show what you are really like? If you don’t have a profile on Facebook or Twitter employers may wonder if you are hiding something. Facebook can influence employers as to whether you are a well-balanced individual, what type of interests you have and even if they should give you an interview!!!
I admit some employers don’t search or care about whether or not you have a Facebook or Twitter profile, but many do. In fact, CareerBuilder claims 37 percent of companies use social networks to research potential job candidates. More and more sites such as Monster or Indeed want you to sign in with Facebook simply because employers want to see what you are truly like.
4) Delete any associations you have with political parties.
I always encourage people to stay active in politics but when applying for jobs, it is best to hide your political views. Odds are that person who is hiring you will have views of their own and they may not coincide with yours.
5) Do not publish what application you are using on Facebook.
Again this applies to people who are employed but applications such as Glassdoor, and Beknown are applications on Facebook that can be used in your job search. They are great applications but remember the applications you use will be published. So if you have your boss as a Facebook friend remember they can see when you are using your job search app.
6) Untag any bad photos of you.
Your friends may post unflattering photos of you, so go through all the photos you have been tagged and untag any that you would not want a potential employer to see. Photos may seem funny at the time but may cost you a job later.
7) Manage your connections wisely
Do you have connections on LinkedIn that you think may give you a bad reference? If you do, now is the time to hide who can see your connections or perhaps remove that connection altogether. Remember it only takes one negative reference to cost you the job.
Also, has anyone ever advised you to never show your references on your resume or on your C.V. and to write “references as available on request”. The reason people advise this is because you may have a reference that the hiring manager knows personally and does not like. You may also have a friend or connection on Facebook or Twitter that the hiring manager may not like and may not hire you as a result.
8) Not following the company you want to work for on social media
Not following a company you want to work for is a big mistake. Companies can see if you follow them and following a company on any form of social media is a great move as it will show you truly are interested in their product. This also may increase your odds of getting an interview, especially if you provide constructive and positive feedback in the forms of tweets or on the company’s Facebook page.
If you do get the interview you will more than likely be asked, “why do you want to work for us”? Simply state you follow the company on Facebook or Twitter, refer to a product you saw and explain why you enjoyed it. For example, if I wanted to work for Ford Motor Company, I would say that I really liked the new Ford Focus I saw on Facebook and I was very impressed with the user’s ability to open the trunk by using only one foot. I would go on to state that not only is Ford making a stylish product but they are leading the way in innovation. This is a great answer because it will demonstrate to the employer that you follow Ford and, therefore, are truly passionate about their products.
9) Not participating in groups on LinkedIn
The real advantage of LinkedIn is making connections. You can make those connections by joining groups and actively participate in those groups.
10) Not searching your contacts for connections to companies you have applied to?
After you apply for a position what should you do next? Do you simply hope that company you applied to will phone you? The next step is to search the company on LinkedIn and look at your second or third-degree connections. If I want to work for company XYZ and I know Bob who knows John at XYZ, I should email Bob to contact John on my behalf. John may even get a referral bonus, so it could be in his best interest to get your resume out of the pile.