Social media has quickly grown to become the main tool for people trying to gather information about other people. Employers are no different; in fact, it’s well known that a growing number of workplaces are investigating their applicant’s social media profiles (LinkedIn and Facebook in particular) before making their hiring decisions.
Social media matters to employers because they use it as a way to preview who you really are behind the scenes, and a quick review of your online life can give them a surprising amount of insight:
Social Media Can Tell Employers Whether You Will Fit Into Their Company Culture
No two companies are exactly alike, but most good companies know that it’s important to find candidates who fit into their particular culture.
Some high pressure careers tolerate or even thrive on confrontational/political rhetoric, abrasive language and dominant “Type A” personality traits. Other jobs require much more collaborative and cooperative tendencies. And of course, habits like excessive drinking or smoking can be deal breakers for some industries, while others are less concerned with the personal habits of their employees. Either way, think about how many of these personality traits a potential employer could glean from your recent social media activity.
Social Media Can Show Employers How Well You Are Connected In Your Industry
Having strong connections through all outlets of social media is something employers notice. Even outlets like Facebook that are not seen as particularly “career focused” can tell an important story.
Building and maintaining social media connections with people in your field can pay huge dividends when an employer checks your LinkedIn profile and finds that you have worked with many of the same industry professionals.
Social Media Will Show Employers “Who You Know” At Their Company
People often say when it comes to finding a job, it’s all about who you know. What they often leave out is that “who you know” can cut both ways. Let’s say your Facebook friend Mary works at the company you are soliciting for a job. This can be great for you, provided Mary is a well-liked employee who performs well. Not so much if Mary has just been given a dismal performance review, or is about to be dismissed for unprofessional conduct.
Good employers know that who you are is not entirely determined by the company you keep, but it’s important to understand that who you let into your digital circle of friends can affect your professional life—or good or for bad.
Social Media Information Is Easy To Track Down, And It’s Getting Easier
Go ahead, untag yourself from that photo your friend posted from that party last night. It still exists. The same is true for nearly everything you’ve ever said or done online. It’s all out there somewhere, and it’s becoming even easier to find now that social media leaders like Facebook are introducing more robust keyword search features.
For better or worse, this is a basic reality of modern job-hunting. Be who you want to be, but realize that what you say and do online can stick with your for a very long time.
For some people, the knowledge that employers might be watching their social media activity is enough to make them think about signing off for good. But remember, being active on social media has enormous advantages when done correctly. The key is to eliminate accidents. Be aware of how you want to be seen and present yourself in a way that matches your goals. If you can do that, there is really nothing to fear.
Speaking of goals; if you’re looking for a new job at one of the many exciting companies across Northeast Ohio, be sure to check out the JumpStart job board.