Social networks have become a part of our lives a long time ago. People spend hours surfing facebook newsfeed or Instagram pictures of people they follow daily. Add to that Twitter, LinkedIn and the bunch of other social media that are being used by people from all over the world. Because of that, employers often check the accounts of the candidates before making any hiring decisions since they want to know everything about the people they will take as their employees. Social media channels then have become a part of the job search campaigns and rightfully so. In this article, we are going to provide some ways in which social media can help or harm your job search efforts.

What Kind of Information Employers Look For?

social media and job searchIn order to understand what social networks can do to your job search, you need to understand what employers are looking for. After all, it all boils down to what employers need and want whether it is social media, resume or job interview. So throughout the entire job search campaign, you have to target the requirements of your potential employers. When it comes to social networking sites, there is something specific companies are looking for:

- Reasons why someone shouldn't be hired (red flags)

- What other people share with or post about candidates

- Any information supporting one's qualifications

- Online reputation of candidates

Today it is pretty easy for anybody to find this kind of information about almost anybody. You would be surprised but many companies report that the information they have found online about the candidates helped them make the decision. You would be even more surprised to know how many times the social media findings have resulted in not hiring candidates. However, employers also reported they were able to find information online that helped them make positive hiring decisions.

What Can Help and What Can Hurt?

Anything provocative behavior online (including inappropriate posts) is usually considered a red flag. The shared photos where you are pictured drinking or using drugs do pretty much the same job to your chances of being hired. Employers also take into consideration any discriminatory comments as they always look for people who would fit into their team without any difficulties. Also, stay away from bad-mouthing your previous employer or sharing confidential information, especially from your previous employer. We would also not recommend using an offensive or unprofessional screen name. All of these things can disqualify you from the competition even though you may not even know about it.

On the other hand, having clean profiles can significantly increase your chances of getting a job. It doesn't mean you don't have to post anything online - as a matter of fact, it may even raise employers' eyebrows. The best thing you can do about your social network accounts is to be vigilant about what you are posting online and monitor the posts you are tagged in. Another thing you can do to improve your chances is to add some professional pictures (finishing a project, attending training, etc.). Mentioning your professional accomplishments on social media can really make a difference. So as long as you are aware of what you are posting online, your social media profiles shouldn't be an obstacle on your way to getting hired.