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Tuesday
Nov022010

Using social media to find a f*#@ing job? 

Yes, I know. It is fun to swear on social media.

It gets you attention. People start talking and retweeting your hilarity with reckless abandon.

You get 45 thumbs-ups from your Facebook peeps who just can't stand how funny you are because you find a way to use d*ckh#ad in every third status update.

Your personal blog lights up every time you drop a few f-bombs in just the right places.

And that's all fine and well. I get it. We live in a society that thrives on shock value. Why on earth would you say "My, my, I have just gone through a rough patch," when you can say, "Holy crap, this was a shit storm!" 

Why?

If you want or need a new job, and you're going to leverage social media to do so? Here's why...

It can be ridiculously hard to cover your tracks before a potential employer sees all you have to offer online.

Hear of Googling? I thought so.

Most all of us recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers take a little look-see there EVERY TIME we're considering a new candidate for a professional position.

You may be the world's greatest R & D engineer with patents and trophies that fill an entire room. But if you also maintain a rude, controversial or otherwise tasteless blog... or have an unprotected Facebook page that reads like a continual Girls Gone Wild video?

Bye.

Study your online presence before and during your job search. If you can unearth some obscure thing that you KNOW could make a potential employer rule you out?

Trust that I can unearth it too.

And clean it up before I get there.

Photo: babble.com

« Look me in the eye and say that's your best effort. | Main | So if you can't find a job, why not make one? »

Reader Comments (5)

I can't condone posting pics of last weekend's keg stands, or whatever, but don't you think potential employers can handle a little creative language here and there? You're spot on with your advice of people securing up their blogs and social media outlets, though ... Do that, and problem solved!

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

In one regard, I agree with you, Heidi. Having a social media presence that reflects one's personality can provide a MAJOR strategic advantage in a job search.

HOWEVER, I've also seen instances in which someone has a blog (or is quite active on Twitter) and uses serious, serious liberty in their topics and how they present themselves. Often, that person doesn't think much about the question of "How might this be perceived should a potential employer see it one day?"

Flash forward -- they're looking for a job. What then? Do they kill the blog entirely? Sanitize it? Wipe out their entire Twitter account and start over?

Worse... what if they've become really great at social media tactics as the result of their colorful social media presence, and they want to somehow build a corporate career around it? Do they point potential employers to the f-bomb blog? And if they don't, what do they have to showcase as evidence of their social media talents?

I think my point is -- If you KNOW you may be searching for a job in the near to mid-term? You have to consider what the potential impact will be.

Cheap laughs and expletives for the sake of a little blast of attention might gain favor in the short-term, but the pricetag could be higher than one might suspect in the job search.

My 2c.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJobJenny

I'm conflicted about this, too. While I'm turned off by gratuitous crude language/behavior, I'd like to think that there's a bit of wiggle room out there when it comes to how you present yourself. As a sex writer, in particular, there was a time when googling my name could cause one to go blind. But I was always up-front with possible employers about it, and it never hurt me.

I'm still a little bit ridiculous online. I'll RT career advice, and then follow it up with a link to a post that mentions my vagina. And I know that this may turn some people off. But when it comes down to it, I really have no interest working with or for the type of people who are bothered by my openness and honesty.

Then again, I'd like to think that my FB page has never reached Girls Gone Wild levels. ;)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteph Auteri

OK, you know I think all things Steph are A+, so we'll get that out of the way right here and now. And I agree with the core of your response. I absolutely think job seekers can gain tremendous advantage by showcasing their true, quirky, witty, nerdy personalities via social media.

Employers hire PEOPLE and if those people have both the skills AND amazing, authentic personalities? Game on.

But being piggish or downright offensive for the sake of a cheap laugh or a blip of attention? For those who plan to work in non-entrepreneurial positions (as in, they are not the boss so they will invariably answer to someone or someones)...? Baring it all (so to speak) online can harm their search efforts.

Fair or not.

So I guess it's about finding that fine line -- be the online shining star you are for all the world to see, but understand that if you take too many liberties? You may struggle to land a corporate job.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJobJenny

Profanity and rude behavior is NEVER acceptable in a professional social media context. Create an anonymous blog if you need to let it all hang out online!

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Meddin

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