social media dos and donts
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Social Media Do's and Don'ts for Job Seekers

Whatever stage of the job search you're in, be sure to think about how you present yourself on social media, because potential employers are seeing you there. Here's a look at some things to do—and to avoid—in online social spaces.

By Samantha Whitehorne

As the saying goes, "You'll never get a second chance to make a good first impression." And, thanks to social media, that impression is often formed by hiring managers and recruiters long before a candidate even walks in the door for an interview.

That means it's more crucial than ever for you to "be on your 'A' game" when it comes to your social media presence, according to Robert Moran, a certified career coach.

"Social media is a huge player in the job search process today," he says. "You need to do everything you can to make your online self as attractive as possible to potential employers."

The first change that Moran says every professional should make today is to update his or her LinkedIn professional headline. For example, a typical default headline is, "Director of Human Resources, ABC Association," which doesn't necessarily add value to your profile.

"But if you were to say, 'Human resources executive who builds partnerships with other executives to engage employees in the mission of the organization,' that is a value-added statement," he says. "It immediately tells prospective employers what contribution you can make to an association."

You need to do everything you can to make your online self as attractive as possible to potential employers.

—Robert Moran

Moran says job seekers must make sure that they're represented well not only on LinkedIn but also on Twitter and Facebook. According to Adweek, 92 percent of recruiters and HR pros now scour online sources for additional information on candidates.

While some candidates may make themselves hard to find online because they worry about making a negative impression, Moran advises against this. "If you hide your information, you could actually be doing yourself a disservice," he says. "Just be smart about what the public can see. If you're second-guessing a tweet or photo, it's probably best not to share it."

Another turnoff for recruiters and hiring managers: when profiles display poor communication skills. "That's right, good grammar and clarity matter in every medium," Moran says. "If you know that's not your strong suit, ask someone for help."

Other no-nos include badmouthing previous or current employers, making discriminatory comments, or lying about qualifications.

"Remember your social media postings can influence an employer's decision," he says. "So make sure to build an online presence that you're OK with everyone seeing."

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director for Associations Now. Email: [email protected]

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