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Your Social Media Profile: Is It Hurting Or Helping Your Job Hunt?

Published on: April 12, 2012

Using your social media profiles to look for a jobThere is no doubt that social media has become a crucial component of our society.  A 2011 Pew Internet survey indicates that over 65% of online adults (and 50% of ALL adults) in the United States use Facebook or another social networking site. 

Social media can be a powerful and convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family, but have you thought about what your social media activities may be saying about you to future employers?

You should and here are 3 reasons why...

1. 92% of all hiring managers use or plan to use social media activities to screen potential employees.  Of those evaluating social networking sites, 86% use LinkedIn, 60% use Facebook, and 50% use Twitter.

2. Some prospective employers ask interview applicants to share their social media passwords with them.  One in three employers have rejected candidates based on something they found online.

3. 24% of hiring managers say they determined “fit and personality” from the social media profiles of candidates.

(Data provided by

As a recruiter, I like to see candidates engaging in social media channels, but I urge them to make their activities “employer-friendly, ” since one never knows who might be looking at their profile online.  Are you ready to “get found” and look attractive to hiring managers via social media?  Here are a few suggestions for putting your best social media face forward.

Create a LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the business networking site most accessed by recruiters and hiring managers. Whether you are an active or passive job seeker, you NEED a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is an incredible tool to reconnect with colleagues, past and present, and learn more about hiring managers at companies of interest. Your goal should be to fully flesh out your profile and start connecting with people you know.  LinkedIn makes it very easy for you to create a profile, even providing a résumé upload tool that will populate your profile fields. 

LinkedIn experts give this advice:

Complete your profile. You are 12 times more likely to be viewed for potential opportunities if your profile is complete.

Add a photo. Professionals who add a photo are seven times more likely to have their LinkedIn profile viewed in general than people who don't. (See more on this in Facebook section below).

Get connected. Fifty trusted contacts is the magic number of connections you need in order to get your LinkedIn network to start working for you.

Since LinkedIn is the social media tool most recruiters use, your social media time is best spent (in terms of career building) on this channel.  Visit the LinkedIn Learning Center for more helpful tips on getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile.  In addition, Matt Youngquist of Career Horizons leads excellent introductory LinkedIn seminars in the Seattle area. 

Clean up your Facebook profile

Since Facebook is considered primarily to be a social site, it's not necessary to have a Facebook profile to be seen by potential employers.  However, if you already have a Facebook page, review it from the perspective of a hiring manager.  It's very possible (as per the numbers above) that your profile will be reviewed to uncover red flags. Make sure your privacy settings are updated (it's best if only friends have access to your information and photos), and take a good look at what you are posting. Review your Info section to ensure that it is consistent with your résumé and other profiles you have online. And remember: What goes online can come back to haunt you!

One note about social media profile photos: You don't need a professional head shot for your profile picture, but do be mindful about your choice. Avoid sexy glamour shots or candids of you doing tequila shots at your last birthday party. 

Explore Twitter

The microblogging site Twitter is the least used social media site in terms of job searches, but it’s certainly worth exploring as an additional service where you can learn what's going on in your industry or at companies of interest to you.

Take action

Social media can be a great tool to advance or aid your job search.  Take the time to ensure your social networking site profiles project the professional image that you want employers to see.  If you would like to learn more on this topic, listen to Mom Corps’ recent 30 Minute Mentor session.

Jamie Flynn, Mom Corps SeattleJamie Flynn is the President of Mom Corps Seattle, a professional staffing firm that specializes in flexible workplace solutions.  Mom Corps partners with local companies, academic institutions and non-profits to help them understand how to use flexible staffing solutions to meet evolving business needs and build loyal, productive and cost-efficient teams.  Mom Corps has access to more than 75,000 candidates nationwide who are looking to be placed in full-time flexible, part-time, project-based and seasonal positions.  Check out to learn more. 

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