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How Social Media Can Make Or Break Your Career

Job seekers beware! One simple social media mistake can destroy your career!

Social media has helped change the way we think, connect and communicate with others. Nowadays, countless information is available to us instantaneously with just one push of a button. This presents us with the ability to reach and connect with new people from all over the globe on a daily basis.

Truthfully, this connectivity works both for and against us. Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can help you land the job of your dreams; or it can instantly eliminate you from the hiring process.

Social Media Giveth

You may have noticed that more brands are beginning to recruit applicants on the internet through sites such as CareerBuilder and Craigslist. They’ve also been starting to use social networking sites like Twitter and especially LinkedIn.

LinkedIn allows professionals from every industry to connect with others from all over the world. LinkedIn in particular is great for cultivating your career as long as you maintain etiquette and use it strategically. When used correctly, LinkedIn – or any form of social media – can help you:

Network With Others:

Whether it is with former classmates, colleagues or business partners, social networking sites allows you to build your network and develop relationships with professionals in the industry.

Establish Thought Leadership:

Imagine you constantly contribute content to your organizations blog. By posting these blogs or writing original content of your own, you are proving your expertise in your field. If potential employers read your content, they can get an idea of just how valuable you can be to their company.

Social Media Taketh Away

Just as quickly as social media can advance your career, it can destroy it. We’ve all heard stories about employees getting fired over an offensive tweet or Facebook post. Job seekers are also reporting not getting hired because of a small comment posted on social media.

The days where a background check consisted of investigated potential criminal charges and employment history are long gone. Today, more applicants are not getting hired because CEOs are including social media in their background checks.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a social media presence:

Negative Comments:

Social media isn’t the place to air our your dirty laundry. Whether you’re frustrated with your job or experiencing problems in your personal life, try to stay clear of using social media to broadcast how angry you are. It’s unprofessional!

Inappropriate Photos:

Ask yourself, if you were a CEO, would you hire someone who’s photo albums depict them getting belligerently drunk every Friday night? Probably not, right?

People have lives outside their jobs…we get it. But it’s important to keep those two lives separate. An inappropriate photo doesn’t necessarily paint a good picture of someone, and it won’t convince your employer that you would benefit his or her brand.

It is also important to keep who you associate yourself with on social networking sites. You may not be the one posting the risqué photos…. you have no control over the actions of your friends. You can always untag yourself from the photos so that potential employers can’t see them.

Offensive Posts:

While LinkedIn should be used for strictly professional reasons, sites like Facebook and Twitter have a more relaxed attitude. If you’ve ever scrolled through your News Feed, you’ve probably seen sarcastic and witty status updates or funny memes. While these can be entertaining, make sure you keep it clean. After all, not everyone has the same sense of humor as you do.

You may see it as a small harmless joke, but others may find it incredibly offensive and distasteful. Remember when Justine Sacco tweeted that “harmless joke”?

Justine Sacco Social Media

In case you’re unfamiliar with the conclusion: she lost her job.

Take Control of Your Personal Brand!

Don’t be put off by how social media can negatively affect your career aspirations! With the popularity of social networking sites, it is almost impossible to not use it today…unless you’re a hermit living in cave somewhere. You just need to be smart about how you present yourself on social media.

Bottom Line: You need to protect your personal brand. If you wouldn’t say or do something in front of your boss or a person of power, it probably isn’t a smart idea to post it Facebook or any social networking site. Remember: nothing is private anymore. Once it is posted, you can’t take it back. All it takes is for one person to see and screenshot your post, and it’ll live forever even after you delete it.

Instead, make sure that your online profile depicts the type of employee that any business would want to hire. Most importantly, think before you post on the Internet because it could cost your current job or any future jobs that you seek.