Even if you don't use social media on a purely personally basis, take heed of these ten do's and don'ts on how social media can affect you professionally.
DO create an online presence
When you are looking for a job or positioning yourself for career growth, it is important to have an online presence where you can showcase your skills and experience.
DO be consistent
Does the employment history on your CV match what's on your LinkedIn profile? Ensure your job titles, companies and dates are consistent to avoid throwing up ‘red flags’ for prospective employers.
DO give to get
Networking works both ways – the more you are willing to help someone else, the more likely they will be to help you. Take some time every day to reach out to your connections. You could write a recommendation on LinkedIn, offer to introduce them to another connection or share articles or news.
DO Google your name and check what’s online
There is a tonne of information online that can tell employers a lot about you. This could include tweets, instant messages, blogs and content and photos posted on social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
DO be careful what you tweet
Be really careful what you tweet – search Twitter for "I hate my job" for an example of what I mean. Hiring managers and executives use Twitter too so you never know who might read your posts.
DO network before you need to
Build your network well in advance of when you need it by constantly making connections in your industry and career field. For example, follow career experts, joing relevant LinkedIn groups or join relevant discussions on Facebook.
DON’T get fired!
It is not uncommon for employers to check out candidates and/or employees on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Be mindful – your online social life could have serious ramifications for your offline professional one.
DON’T forget your Facebook privacy settings
Following on from the above, it is a good idea to set your Facebook privacy settings to restrict who can access your information and photographs. Open or “friends of friends” profiles can be risky if there are things you would prefer to keep hidden from prospective employers.
DON’T connect with everyone
One school of thought is that you should connect with as many people as possible when using social media. I disagree – I believe quality is more important than quantity when it comes to connecting. The first question you should ask yourself when making connections is “how can this person help me?” The second question should be “what can I do to help them?” Before you ask someone to connect, consider what you have in common. That common denominator, regardless of what it is, is what's going to help with your job search.
DON’T spend time online at work looking for a job!
Some job seekers might feel tempted to look for a new job while “on the clock” at their current one. Resist the temptation to look at job postings, upload your CV, talk to contacts or post comments online about your job search during work hours. This is unprofessional and will not reflect well if you are caught out.