Mark Burch Coaching - Career, Financial, Life, and Small Business Coaching

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Is your use of social media helping or hurting your job prospects?

Social Media has exploded onto the scene in the last few years. There are almost too many sites to name. The biggest ones are probably MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. What you are doing on these sites, or not doing, can aid or hinder your job search success. You need to remember that the information you display on these sites is visible to virtually anyone.

Facebook and MySpace are great tools allowing you to connect with friends and to express yourself, but use caution with what you decide to share with the world. If you have connections with several hundred "friends", there is a strong probability that words and pictures that may present an unflattering view of you in private life will be accessible to anyone looking for information about you. Many individuals have lost job offers or even had them withdrawn due to those "funny" spring break photos posted on their social media sites. Also, language that would be considered inappropriate in the work place shouldn't be on your site. You do have the right to express yourself as you please, but in a tough job environment such as today's, you need to gain every advantage you can.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found, 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on the discovery of online information. Additionally, the survey revealed that 78 percent of recruiters use search engines to find applicants and 63 percent look at applicants' profiles on social networking sites.

What about LinkedIn? LinkedIn is very popular among professionals looking to network with others. Studies consistently show that a significant percentage of jobs are obtained through networking, and LinkedIn is likely the best site out there for this. I recommend all of my coaching clients to set up a profile there. The key is to complete your profile with accurate information just like your resume, and ensure that you use appropriate keywords to get noticed. Recruiters are using LinkedIn as the to source candidates because it's free and the top professionals are on there. Finally, get recommendations from peers and supervisors, and build your network. The more contacts you have, the greater your exposure.

Social media is great and allows you to connect to friends and former co-workers. Just ensure that the information you put out there doesn't eliminate you from contention for the job you love.

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