Social media, we just can't get enough of it. From Facebook and Twitter through to Pinterest and YouTube, people are spending more than time than ever sharing information and interacting with others online.
However, it's important to think about the impact your social media footprint might have on your career. We are now using social media so much that you can find out a surprising amount of information about a person simply by taking a look at their various online profiles.
Unsurprisingly, recruiters have not been slow to take advantage of this and many now assess a candidate online when weighing up their job application. As a result, it's important that you take this into consideration when looking to make a career change and ensure your social footprint does not have a negative impact on your chances.
Facebook is the social network that tends to contain the most information about a person. Thankfully, it's also one of the easiest to keep under control. By altering the privacy settings on your account, you can tailor exactly who can you see your profile and updates.
You can go into quite some detail here and can even adjust your account so that certain updates are only seen by certain people. From a job hunting perspective, we suggest you simply edit your privacy settings so that only friends can see your profile and updates.
That way, you'll be able to post whatever you like without worrying that a recruiter may see it. This is perfect if your profile is likely to contain a few photos in which you may have had a drink or two.
After Facebook, one of the next places a recruiter will look when tracing a candidate's social footprint is Twitter. It's a little bit harder to keep your tweets under wraps, as having a private profile means people have to follow you before they can view your posts.
This can make it hard to attract new followers and, as a result, isn't an option many people choose. The best way to ensure your tweets don't affect your job hunting chances is to always think twice about what you post and if you think it could be negatively interpreted by a recruiter, steer clear. Doing this shouldn't be too hard, as most people are unlikely to tweet anything that would deter a recruiter anyway. However, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Another social network that can have a big impact on job hunting, albeit in a different way, is LinkedIn. This site is essentially a Facebook for business professionals and developing a strong profile is an ideal way to boost your chances of landing a new position.
Your LinkedIn profile should provide a full outline of your career history and can be used to allow recruiters to access information that wasn't included in your CV or cover letter. Receiving endorsements for your skills and abilities from colleagues can demonstrate your value and show a potential employer that you were well respected in previous positions.
Another advantage of LinkedIn is the opportunities it provides for networking. The social network makes it easy to connect with other people in your profession, giving you the opportunity to enter interesting discussions, learn new things and make useful contacts.
Once you get a new job, it's important to stay social-savvy. Whether it's complaining about their boss, or posting photos of themselves out and about when they are supposed to be off ill, people have lost their jobs as a result of social media posts, so you should always think about the possible implications of your online activity, whether you're hunting for a new position or not.