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Social media – A potential gateway to unemployment

JOBURG – Tips to make your social media as professional as possible.

We’ve all been warned of the impact of social media in our personal lives, now consider the threat it could pose to your professional career.

Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions, highlighted that although there have been numerous examples of people losing their jobs or being publically scrutinised for posting or sharing inappropriate or discriminatory comments online, social media users keep putting themselves in hot water.

“Considering that social media has transformed every aspect of our lives, it should come as no surprise that the job market is no exception.”

Vittee refers to a recent Harris Poll which found that 52 percent of employers use social networking sites to research candidates.

“Ultimately, what you say online – stays online and these platforms are often very easily accessible for another regular user to view. According to CareerBuilder, 51 percent of employers who screen via social media reject applicants based solely on their profiles., she explained.

Over the past few years, social media uptake has increased drastically with a recent South African Social Media Landscape 2016 study conducted by World Wide Worx and Fuseware revealing that, in the past year alone, Facebook use increased by eight percent, Twitter by 12 percent, YouTube by 15 percent, and Instagram by a staggering 133 percent.

Vittee said, “With such massive numbers online on a daily basis, it is becoming common practice for recruiters to use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to not only attract and recruit top talent but also to do a little investigating about who they are really putting forward to a client organisation and whether or not they will suit the company’s culture and values.

“Likewise, candidates are using social media to search for jobs, and network and connect with industry influencers. Gone are the days of a simple cover letter, CV and references. Nowadays, jobseekers need to ensure they have a carefully curated digital footprint and take control of what they are putting out there.”

Vittee shares a few points South Africans should keep in mind while online:

q Profile picture: A picture is worth a thousand words – especially for recruiters and employers scrolling through social media sites.

q Get professional online: Consider joining industry groups, start sharing relevant content and connect with like-minded professionals on platforms such as LinkedIn.

q Don’t go on a rant: There is a time and place for everything and online is definitely not the place to talk badly about your boss or colleagues. Also, stay clear of religious or political rants.

q Be secure: If you want to have a personal profile that you just want your friends and family to be able to access, check your security settings and be aware of auto-geotagging.

It is also important to consider that while recruiters have a growing presence online, so do scam artists. Always make sure you know who you are talking to when connecting with individuals online and don’t share personal information with anyone you are unable to verify.

“My advice to job seekers is always to think before they post and use social media to your advantage. You may think no one is watching but you can never be 100 percent sure,” concluded Vittee.

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