Graduate’s Job Search Guide: Social Media Faux Pas to Avoid

Posted May 07, 2012 by
Jeff Diana

Jeff Diana, Chief People Officer at SuccessFactors

It’s that time of year again. This month, college seniors will be graduating and joining the real world.  While this generation of grads may have social media savvy like no other, the evolving lines of personal and professional life are blurred so much so that even this crop of experienced graduates might have a hard time keeping them separate. Social media can still be a post-grad’s best friend, just as long as these common social media faux pas are avoided come interview time.

Oversharing & Privacy Settings

If you haven’t already, make sure you set up your privacy settings on social sites to ensure you don’t get skipped over in the initial candidate selection process. A profile picture or album of your post-graduation celebrations may not be the professional image you want to put out there and might hurt your chances when interviewing. Start thinking twice before posting information, a picture or tagging someone, because once it’s out there, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to remove it from the Web. With that said, it’s also important to get into the habit of Googleing yourself on a regular basis so that you know what your future employer might find.

Grammar and Spelling Errors

Just because you are engaging via social channels does not give you an excuse to be sloppy. Make sure to proofread everything you post. Allowing basic spelling and grammar errors in your content, whether it be a Facebook status post or a tweet, could damage your professional reputation and cause potential employers to question your writing abilities. Also, take this opportunity to stand out and write something that signals the degree of your interest and focus. For example, if your resume on LinkedIn has too many buzzwords and phrases, it might come across as a blitz campaign, causing you to miss the opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Loose Publishing

A good rule of thumb when posting content to social channels is if you hesitate at all, chances are it’s not appropriate. It’s ok to be funny. It’s ok to have a fun personality—but if it’s going to potentially offend anyone, it’s best to keep it offline. At SuccessFactors, we want our employees to bring their best self to the company. We assume that the way they engage in public forums, like Twitter and Facebook, translates to the way they will engage with colleagues and customers. We also give employees the license to challenge ideas, but we want to see that they have the ability to put themselves into the shoes of the people they engage with.

Quick Tips on How to Use Social Media for Your Job Search

Social media has the potential to unlock numerous doors for job seekers when used correctly – for example:

–          LinkedIn is a great tool for job seekers to connect with professionals in their industries and display significant professional experience.  Keep in mind that recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent, so make sure your experience is up-to-date. Also, LinkedIn gives employers a sense of an individual’s approach and attitude. Whenever you recommend someone, choose your words wisely, because the words you choose say a lot about you and how carefully you make a judgment.

–          Engage with brands you love – like them on Facebook, Tweet about them, follow them on LinkedIn, and don’t be surprised if a recruiter connects with you asking you to join their team.

Congratulations class of 2012 and best of luck in your job searches.


About Jeff Diana:

Jeff Diana is the Chief People Officer at SuccessFactors and is responsible for the global human resource (HR) function, with a specific focus on acquiring, growing and retaining talent within the company. Prior to SuccessFactors, Diana held several senior HR leadership roles at companies like Expedia, General Electric, Microsoft and Safeco. Diana obtained his bachelor’s degree at Tuft University in American Studies, and masters degrees in human resource management and sociology from the University of South Carolina.

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