Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Using Social Media

  •  Linkedin is required.
  • They're always watching.
  • Social media is forever.
  • Spin and win.

 Did you know that 92% of hiring managers report that they use social media to check out potential hires? Most people looking for a job focus on their cover letter, resume and interview strategy. But you really can't control your reputation, because in just a few keystrokes employers can search your social media presence. Which reminds me of Kathlyn Ehl. She was an aide to the Rob McKenna campaign for Governor of Washington. She had sent out a couple of questionable tweets before she was hired that later came to the attention of the press. She was fired.

Ms. Ehl's firing reminds us that social media can bite. Sure there was a time when social media was like a personal journal, a place where we could let our hair down because many employers didn't do online searches when considering job applicants. No longer. Employers are now sophisticated prowlers of our past. Most people realize that you need to play it straight on Linkedin, but now you need to just assume that your employer, or potential employer, is watching every post on Facebook and every tweet you make. Say goodbye to drunken photos and outrageous posts to get something off your chest. Here are four strategies to turn social media from a hindrance into a help for your job search.

Linkedin is required. 93% of hiring managers use Linkedin to search for candidates and 89% have actually hired someone they met on the site according to Jobvite. Face-to-face networking still should be a part of everyone's job search, but it's increasingly dangerous to your employability to avoid online networking tools.

They're always watching. 48% of hiring managers report that they always search social media when they're considering a candidate even if the applicant doesn't provide access. Almost half. This statistic will only increase over time so we've all got to realize that they call it social media for a reason, it is visible to all.

Social media is forever. Ms. Ehl isn't the first, and won't be the last, person fired over social media from her past. It happens all the time. Unfortunately there often isn't a statue of limitations, I've heard of people who were let go years after a lie on a resume or job application.

Spin and win. Okay, up until now I've focused on how to play defense on social media and not having things hurt your job search. But you can also play offense too. The survey also found that 80% of employers like candidates who belonged to professional organizations and 66% liked candidates who volunteered. So highlight these in your social media presence. Yep, you can put information online specifically to influence how prospective employers view you.

So what specific social media activities are a turn off to employers? Illegal drugs, 78%. Posts of a sexual nature, 67%. Profanity, 61%. Grammar and spelling mistakes, 54%. And finally alcohol, 47%. Associate with any of these online and social media can become downright unsocial for your career prospects.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him

Thought of the Week

""Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.""

–Brian Solis

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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