Don’t Be Shackled By Social Media

Landing a position in today’s economy is no walk in the park. With new technologies to learn, more candidates to compete with, and a higher level of scrutiny from employers, it’s no wonder job seekers are struggling to keep up. However, a lack of talent or poor skills awareness isn’t where most people are missing the mark. The real challenge is overcoming the crippling language barrier that exists between employers and job seekers, a trust factor that continues to shove quality candidates out the door without a fair chance.

Credit: hypehaven.blogspot.com

Let’s step into the mind of an employer for a moment. In a market where products are evolving faster than ever before and a record number of disgruntled employees are looking for the next best thing, the survival of your business is uncertain. The pressure to stay afloat leaves no time for second chances and no patience for pleasantries. As soon as a viable candidate is presented to a hiring manager, he puts on his private-investigator hat and uses every disposable resource to dig up dirt on the poor, unknowing job seeker in question.

If you’ve used your Facebook timeline as a confessions booth or a therapeutic means of venting, you bet they’ll see it. And no matter how pristine your resume is, if your LinkedIn profile is lackluster, forget it. Regardless of the high praises a candidate comes with, the premier recruiting firms who send them, and the consistent upward mobility demonstrated in his or her career history, employers operate with the famous backwards mantra: guilty until proven innocent.

Here’s a great example. Recently, we presented a gentleman for a high-level position in the Carolinas. After a round of interviews, our client was blown away by his unmatched talent and surprised by the natural chemistry they shared with him. It was a match made in heaven until we received an unsettling phone call. The hiring manager’s voice was shaking with anger and bewilderment. “He’s a fraud!” she exclaimed hysterically. Apparently, a history of contract jobs showcased on the candidate’s LinkedIn profile was missing on his resume. The small inconsistency led to a mutiny of despair. Our recruiters had to act fast and explain the situation to the site manager to alleviate their concerns. Had we not gotten involved, the poor guy wouldn’t have had a prayer.

Job seekers, please realize that employers are not coming from a place of normalcy. Because our tumultuous economy has put a damper on the spirits of both parties, resulting in little-to-no loyalty among frightened employees and rapidly changing business landscapes, employers’ brains are wired to go straight to the worst-case scenario as a primal instinct to protect themselves. The good news is only you have control over your brand.

My first piece of advice: get rid of any incriminating photos, posts, and messages on social media. Airing your dirty laundry for the entire world to see isn’t best practice when it comes to your professional life. Next, build out a complete LinkedIn profile, join some relevant groups, and engage your network. And most importantly, be sure that your career story remains consistent across all channels: in the interviewing room, on your resume, and on the web. Don’t let shotty LinkedIn workmanship or a crude online comment sabotage your chance to achieve a sustainable career.

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