Will Social Networks Make or Break Your Job Search?

The job market is super tough these days, so knowing how to use social networks to your advantage is a strategy that gives you the edge. If you want to show a positive employment history, you’ll need to go beyond the résumé and start thinking about the way the virtual world sees you. Whether you’re looking for something permanent or including temp staffing services in your job search, know that they’re looking at your social behavior.

Social Networks as a Hiring Strategy

According to Careerbuilders.com, one in five hiring managers look at potential employees’ social networks. They’re interested in your personal stuff. Your behavior matters. They use Facebook as a way to understand your personality. They’re trying to figure out:

  • Do you use drugs or alcohol?
  • Have you engaged in illegal activity?
  • Have you bad-mouthed previous employers or work-mates?
  • Is your screen name unprofessional?
  • Do you discriminate against others?
  • Have you posted provocative or inappropriate photo

Suddenly, the fun comes crashing down. It seems like the boss is snooping, but online behaviors tell him or her a lot about whether you’ll get along with others, follow instructions, or have a good attendance record.

Learn How to Be a Professional Online

Although you’re looking for that lasting career, there’s a good chance you’ll sign up with temp staffing services. For a young professional just getting started, it’s a great place to learn about yourself and future employers. Now use your social networks to your advantage. As you take temporary positions, make a great impression online, as well as offline. Potential employers also check social networks for these positive attributes:

  • Grammar and spelling
  • Community interaction
  • Positive relationships throughout your social network
  • Whether you’re a good fit in the company’s culture
  • Creativity
  • Positive feedback from others

While you’re working through temp staffing services, be sure you learn as much as you can from their recruiters and management. It’s their job to get you hired, so they’ll have great advice.

Clean Up Your Online Image

O.K. You’ve made some mistakes because you were young and having fun. Now you have to get rid of any negative reputation you created. How do you do that if those posts and photos linger indefinitely on the Internet? Remember this: people change. A good employer will understand this, so get started, and clean up that image:

  • If it’s not for your boss, create an anonymous persona
  • Think twice about friending your boss
  • Post your positive activities
  • Check your spelling and grammar
  • Refrain from tasteless comments
  • Manage your privacy settings to keep the public at bay

Social networks are for specific purposes. Use them as intended. If it’s designed for professionals, then be professional. If it’s designed for friends, then be with your friends in a healthy, positive way.

Let your brightest, best self shine through as you transition into a lifelong career path. How will you project yourself into the world?

About the Author: Odette Maupredi works with young professionals looking for work. She stresses that it doesn’t matter if you are approaching temp staffing services or corporate employers – your online social media profile will be looked at. Be cautious!