Unless you recently arrived from a distant planet, you don’t need anyone telling you social media has become a primary tool of communication. But, you might not know that because much of the communication is public, many hiring managers and recruiters are now tuning in to it.

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and similar social media sites offer the people who are considering hiring you a look at you outside the resume and cover letter you provided and the interview. It’s estimated that over a third of employers are using these sites as an additional element to the hiring process.

So, if it’s becoming a more common practice for recruiters to peruse your social media, the next question should be: What do they see when they look at your pages?

Here are a few things to think about to ensure your social media profile isn’t standing in the way of your next job:

Understand why employers are interested in your profile

In a recent survey, human resource professionals were asked if and why they utilize social media as part of their hiring process. Almost two out of five companies indicated they use the sites to screen potential candidates, mainly to get a glimpse into the personality and character of their applicants. Some even based their hiring decisions on what they found.

Over half of the employers who use social media this way say they do so to find out how the candidates handle themselves professionally. Others want to know if the potential employee is well-rounded and would be a good fit for their company’s culture. Still others said they were looking for a reason not to hire the candidate.

There are obvious lessons to be learned from this survey, and the most important should be…

If you’re using social media, proceed with caution

More than a third of employers who look over social media profiles said they had found content that caused them not to hire the candidate. Here are some of the specifics they cited:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photos and information
  • Evidence of drinking or drug use
  • Poor communication skills
  • Bad-mouthing former employers
  • Discriminatory comments about race, gender or religion

Also, keep in mind the information you put online about your job experiences, skills and accomplishments should be consistent. Hiring managers could be checking more than one of your social media accounts, so make sure you’re telling the same story on each of them.

Present yourself positively on social media

If you’re going to share on social media, make it work to your advantage. Remove anything that comes across as unprofessional, and share only content that shows you in the most positive light. Don’t be a victim of social media; use it as your ally.

Looking for your next job?

Contact Pro Resources for the light industrial or technical/professional position you’re hoping to find. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, so use our expertise to help you find your next job.