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Is your Online Networking helping or hurting?

Today’s job-seekers face a rather unique challenge that people in the market for a job in days past never had to worry about. Social media. It can work in your favor at times, and can really help you find the job you want and need, if you play your cards right. However, if you don’t exercise a great deal of caution and restraint, social media can also serve as a hindrance to your job search efforts.

Here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your social networking as you search for a job.

Conduct Yourself in a Professional Manner at All Times

Believe it or not, the way you conduct yourself and the language you use in your social networking reflects upon your “hirability” in a really big way. One of the first things we do before we decide to represent anyone is to "google" them. I guarantee you our clients do the same thing. It gives us an additional insight into the person. It always amazes us with the things we find. Some flattering-most not so much. You may want to rethink posting your old spring break college photos or making a particularly salty comment about the politician of not your choice. Using inappropriate words or pictures is not the way to make it into the hearts and on to the payrolls of potential employers with discerning hiring practices. It doesn’t always work to your detriment, but the things you post, even seemingly innocuous ones can create a wrong impression with potential employers.

Consider a Private and Public Account

You probably like the idea of being able to connect with old friends, make plans and sort of hang- out virtually, no matter how many actual miles divide you. But you don’t want the comments of your old frat or sorority pals, about your college days and ways, derail your attempts to land a respectable job in today’s competitive job market. You can keep your private business with old and new friends private while still showing off your skills and talents in the field in a completely professional manner. Check your privacy settings.

But don’t overly cling to the promise of privacy. Anything that is said and done online has the potential to come back and bite you – when you least expect it. The best rule of thumb is that if you don’t want a future potential employer to read something about you, don’t put it out there. The Internet is a great big giant bell that can never be truly unrung.

Exercise Restraint

This is something that will earn the respect of potential employers in a really big way. They want to know that they’re hiring someone who is capable of discretion, so be prudent in your actions and attitudes on the Internet.

It’s not that employers don’t want or expect you to have a life – or fun. Yes, you may think it's impressive to have downed 10 shots of Fireball Whiskey at your last birthday party and post pictures of the evidence. But, your potential employer may not feel the same way. They don’t want someone who represents their business to let all their fun hang out on the front page of Facebook or the top trends on Twitter.

These tips might not be earth-shattering or world-altering, but they might just help you land the job you’re looking for without facing the social media blowback. As always, use common sense and make sure the stuff you put out into Cyperspace does not hurt your career prospects. .

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