Six Ways Your Social Media Profile Might Ruin Your Job Search

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Just because you think you know how to protect your Facebook account doesn't mean you're exempt from that same caution when it comes to social media. What you do online matters, especially to potential employers. Forbes contributor Kerry Hannon was startled to learn that more and more employers are searching the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to figure out potential hires beyond their well-rounded, impeccably designed cover letter and CV — even if the employee is coming out of retirement for a part-time job.

Hannon's concern stems from Harris Interactive's CareerBuilder.com survey that revealed that half of potential hires were turned away because they added inappropriate content to their social media brand. A whopping 48 percent weren't hired because of information showing the candidate using drugs or alcohol, and 33 percent had publicly bad-mouthed a previous employer. Remember, just because your privacy settings are top-notch doesn't mean your social media brand account is as secure a Swiss bank account. Hoffman states that what you post on the internet "floats out into the virtual airspace, and it’s, well, virtually impossible to reel it in." This isn't to scare you into abandoning your social media life all together; Hoffman stresses the importance of having an online presence. CareerBuilder even shows that 57 percent of new hires were employed because their profiles showed a professional image, and a well-rounded personality. In order to accomplish that, Hoffman has six steps we all — no matter what age we are — need to abide by to keep us hire-worthy:

1. Tread lightly on Facebook
2. Show your expertise
3. Stay hip to technology (i.e. simply by having an online presence, you show you're technologically savvy).
4. Portray a well-rounded candidate
5. Have a solid headshot
6. Sign up for Twitter

For more on Hoffman's explanations, check out her post here. In the meantime, get cracking on these steps. Most aren't terribly time consuming (signing up for Twitter is as easy as two button clicks), and carefully begin to brand or re-brand yourself. Social media is now one piece of the 21st century job hunt — either get hip to it, or be left in the digital dust. (Forbes)

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Photo: Courtesy of GetHiredFast.com