Friday, 22 March 2013

Could your use of social media be harming your job prospects?

Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are allowing recruiters to dig deeper into the lives of potential candidates than ever before. With over 1 billion people using Facebook alone, our online presence is more prominent than ever. As many employers are now choosing to use Facebook to screen potential candidates, young people in particular are unwittingly putting their career opportunities at risk.
The Recruitment Society and CIPD report they are seeing more examples than ever of inappropriate photos and comments on social media sites. Gone are the days when you can say whatever you like online without repercussions. 17 year old Dan lost out on a job at a café chain after making jokes on Twitter. He is also being followed by his prospective university, meaning any inappropriate comments he makes could have a huge impact on his future.
Today being social media savvy is essential if you want to stay on the right side of recruiters. You may be surprised to learn the recruitment practice of using social media is perfectly legal provided the employer doesn’t make any decisions based on gender, age or race. As the information is publically available, often all it takes is a Google search for recruiters to find your details. Unless your privacy settings are watertight you could be publishing images and commentaries which make employers think twice about hiring you.
Young people in particular are at risk. With universities encouraging students to apply for graduate schemes during their final year, many students are unprepared for the social media scrutiny this can bring. With the competition for graduate jobs increasing year on year, recruiters are looking for any opportunity to thin the pool of candidates. If your social media presence isn’t up to scratch, you could be taking an early exit from the recruitment process.
Everyone likes to party and have fun, but your future employer doesn’t want to see you drinking that foot-long beer in Prague. Trust me. Often all it takes is a quick tinker with the privacy settings and you’ll be kept in the running for your dream job. Facebook in particular is highly customisable; you can even group your contacts into categories, allowing you to limit the exposure of posts to a close group of friends.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of people getting fired due to inappropriate use of social media. I’m talking about the people who phone in sick and then post pictures of themselves on a night out. The people who slag off their boss and forget he’s on their friends list. While these stories make good headlines, they don’t hold resonance with the majority of readers. Such stories are the very tip of the iceberg, and as we often credit ourselves with more intelligence, many people dismiss the warnings surrounding social media as something for other people to worry about.
In reality if your social media profile is holding you back, chances are you wouldn’t even know it. Recruiters rarely have the time or inclination to give feedback unless it’s expressly requested. Sometimes all it takes is a dodgy profile picture or throw away comment for your application to be rejected.
CV Knowhow offers a defence against the over-zealous recruiter, by offering a review of your social media presence for £20. As part of our CV Writing Service we’ll give you feedback on your online presence, giving you the benefit of an outsiders view. We’ll point out anything you should watch out for that could give recruiters doubts as to your suitability. By making the necessary changes based on our advice you’ll be able to boost your chances of bagging your dream job.

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