Is Social Networking Helping Or Hurting Your Job Search?

There is some disagreement over whether social networking is an indispensible ingredient in a successful job search or an actual hindrance to finding a job. The reality is probably a bit of both—and it depends largely on how you use your social networking sites, privacy features, and how you present yourself online. Some social networking sites are much better suited to your job search than others. Can you find a job via Facebook? Maybe, but it’s a lot more rational to use a site like LinkedIn which was designed for the purpose.

There are two reasons why it makes more sense to use LinkedIn and similar sites and leave Facebook out of your job search.

The first reason is that LinkedIn has more utilities for professional connecting. Facebook apps for the purpose do exist, but statistically it doesn’t appear they get that much use. So it’s not like Facebook is especially conducive to a job search. Facebook is largely designed for people to keep in touch with immediate friends and family.

The other reason that Facebook and other sites designed for personal use and not professional use aren’t well suited to your job search is that they reveal way too much about you. Not only should you not use Facebook for your job search, but you should probably actually make your profile completely private.

A lot of job candidates assume that what they should be trying to keep away from employers are posts or photos which reveal unprofessional behavior at parties and the like, but drunk and disorderly conduct aren’t all that can turn off potential employers.

It’s actually the simplest thing in the world for a potential employer to decide they don’t want anything to do with you.

For many years now, top headhunters have advised job candidates to not even include photos of themselves with their resumes on the basis that the fewer reasons you give potential employers to reject you before meeting you, the higher your chances of getting a job. When a hiring manager visits your Facebook page, even if you’re the most well-behaved person on earth, they could decide they don’t like you for one of a billion reasons.

Maybe they don’t like that you type “LOL.” Perhaps they don’t like your fashion sense. Maybe they hate your taste in music. Or perhaps they find your worldview ridiculous. Every day people come up with obscure reasons to dislike others, even without meeting them. Most of us have a better chance of impressing someone in person than we do on the internet.

Most of us are different people with everyone we know in our lives, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

You wouldn’t behave the same way around your parents as you would around your spouse, or your best friend. You wouldn’t talk to your boss the way you’d talk to your college roommate. So why would you share your personal life with a potential employer? It makes no sense. You should network your professional identity to your employers and your personal identity to your friends and family.

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