A young woman's journey to create a media company.

Social Media and the Job Search

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In case you’ve been under a rock or out in space, you may realize we’ve been in a recession for quite some time. Many people have lost their jobs and have been actively searching for one. Personally, I’ve sent over 140 resumes since February. Some would say that searching for a job has gotten that much easier or harder since social media is the shiny new thing. Here are 5 ways that social media is helping the job searching, and 5 ways it can hurt you.

Social Media Helps Your Job Search

1. LinkedIn: This social network definitely comes in handy, even when you only have the free version. It allows your resume to live online, helps you connect to all those people who’ve given you their business card, and tap into their network without hassling them too much. LinkedIn is networking made easy.

2. Twitter: Twitter is allowing people to search for people and opportunities with ease. The oh so great #hashtag can help you find job opportunities, companies who are looking for people like you, and what your particular industry needs. Follow industry leaders and influences, shrink the URL to your resume, and get the job you’re looking for.

3. Ning: Ning has made it easy for people with similar interests to come together. Anyone can make a Ning network, and anyone can participate. Find a network that caters to your field of interest. Get involved in the online community, and make your skills known. When you combine what you know with who you know, you’re bound to have a easier time finding your job.

4. YouTube: You can now show employers what you’re really about with a video. Be sure you’re professionally camera ready, make a short video (no longer than 2 minutes) and promote it everywhere. Sometimes, a resume is only a paper with words on it. Add some personality with a quick video about who you really are.

5. RSS Feeds: I like to think RSS feeds tie into social media. You can get information delivered right to your inbox or whatever reader you use. Subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite employing website, so you can know what positions are available without running all over the internet.

Social Media Hurts Your Job Search

1. Facebook: Employers are including your Facebook profile in their background investigation of who you are. People show their real colors on their Facebook profile, and with the latest privacy settings, you should be really particular about what you allow others to see. If you just have to post your drunken night on the town, or someone tags you in embarrassing pictures, make the appropriate changes to your privacy settings. Otherwise, you will be out of the running for a job. I’ve seen it happen.

2. YouTube: Everyone wants to be a star, and YouTube definitely makes it possible. Once again, be careful what types of videos you’re in. Whether it’s a personal video blog where you’re bashing celebrities or people you know, or singing along to degrading songs, the world (and employers) are watching. Once again, privacy settings should be adjusted if you just can’t handle not being who you really are.

3. Twitter: Yesterday I mentioned that the Library of Congress will be archiving public tweets. What you tweet today can definitely affect what position you may not get tomorrow. I can’t stress enough, if you can’t help but to be vocal about every little thing, do yourself a favor and make your account private.

4. Foursquare: Sure, it’s the hot location service. It’s fun letting your friends know where you are and who you’re with. Make sure you’re not checking in places you’re not supposed to be. If you tell your boss you’re taking care of your sick grandma, and you check in at Disneyland, you’re essentially telling them “I’m an untrustworthy employee.”

5. LinkedIn: Yes, LinkedIn is one of the better ways to get a job in social media, but it can also hurt. You can get a recommendation on LinkedIn from pass employers or coworkers. Make sure you ask the right person to write one for you. One bad recommendation can taint the rest. Don’t ask anyone to lie for you, but if you didn’t perform to your best ability, it’s probably best not to ask those people to recommend you.

Please keep these things in mind during your search for a job. Your digital reputation definitely will follow you, so if you can’t resist showing your true colors that may reflect poorly, utilize those privacy settings to the best of your ability.

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