Discuss Identity Management in social media
Managing Online Profiles An Important Part of Job-Seeking
By RICK NAUERT PHDSenior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 15, 2013
New research confirms that social media websites are important for job seekers — as long as they tend to the right privacy settings.
Demographics, it seems, plays a role in appropriate media management.
Northwestern University researchers discovered that among young adults, men, Hispanics and those with lower Internet skills are the least likely to keep employment-related audiences in mind when it comes to their online profiles.
Women, whites and those with higher Internet skills are more likely to actively manage their social media privacy settings as they seek a job or maintain employment.
Researchers say the study, published online in the journal IEEE Security & Privacy, is the first to analyze how different demographics of young adults approach online reputation management strategies during a job search.
“Young people could benefit from understanding the implications of these issues,” said EszterHargittai, Ph.D., lead author of the study.
“Without adequate privacy settings, inappropriate pictures or comments posted on a social media profile could be seen by an employer and cost you a job opportunity.”
Managing the privacy of social media profiles can be complex, she said.
“A site’s settings can change quickly, and if you are not keeping track and checking in on your settings regularly, you could inadvertently leave parts of your profile open to the public even if you had set them to more restricted access earlier.”
Because a significant portion of the young people in this study seemed at risk in regard to privacy management practices, there may be a need for more formal training from career service organizations, libraries and others on best practices for maintaining self-presentation online, Hargittai said.
Among the study highlights:
• 34.5 percent of men and 25 percent of women never managed their privacy settings or the content of their social media profiles with respect to an employer audience;
• Whites were much more likely than other races to adjust social media profiles at least once in the past year in anticipation of employers searching for information about them;
• Hispanics were the least likely to keep an employment-related audience in mind in regards to the content of their online profiles;
• Women were more likely than men to manage their privacy settings for an employer-related audience and tended to do so more frequently;
• Those more knowledgeable about Internet privacy matters and privacy-related terms, such as “tagging,” “limited profile” and “preference settings,” were more likely to engage in managing the privacy of their social media profiles.
For the study, researchers analyzed responses from a paper-and-pencil survey given to a sample of 545 diverse young adults, ages 21 or 22. Five hundred and seven of those respondents reported using social network sites.
The study was distributed and collected by conventional postal mail during the summer of 2012, and was designed to assess the extent to which young adults monitor their self-presentation on social media networks and their privacy-related Internet skills and knowledge.
Researchers studied the same sample of young people that had been surveyed in 2009 for a Northwestern study on college students and Internet skills. At that time they were all first-year students at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In 2012, some of them were still in college, about half had just graduated, and others had left college altogether. Ninety percent said they were either working or currently looking for a job.
How Social Media Can Help (Or Hurt) You In Your Job Search
By Jacquelyn Smith
Social media is a key player in the job search process today.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ allow employers to get a glimpse of who you are outside the confines of a résumé, cover letter, or interview—while they offer job seekers the opportunity to learn about companies they’re interested in; connect with current and former employees; and hear about job openings instantaneously, among other things.
That’s probably why half of all job seekers are active on social networking sites on a daily basis, and more than a third of all employers utilize these sites in their hiring process.
Career transition and talent development consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrisonasked hundreds of job seekers via an online poll, “How active are you on social networking sites?” Forty-eight percent said they’re very active on a daily basis, while 19% said they log on about two or three times per week. Another 22% said they use social networking sites one to three times per month, or less. Only 11% of job seekers said they never use social networking websites.
“I was really excited to see how many job seekers are active on social media,” says Helene Cavalli, vice president of marketing at Lee Hecht Harrison. “As strong advocates, we spend a lot of time coaching job seekers on how to develop a solid social media strategy. While it isn’t the only strategy for finding a job, it’s becoming increasingly important.”
Greg Simpson, a senior vice president at Lee Hecht Harrison, said in a press statement that job seekers must understand how hiring managers and recruiters are using social media in all phases of the selection process.
To help job seekers better understand the role of social media in their job search,
CareerBuilder.comconducted a survey last year that asked 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals if, how, and why they incorporate social media into their hiring process.
First they found that 37% of employers use social networks to screen potential job candidates. That means about two in five companies browse your social media profiles to evaluate your character and personality–and some even base their hiring decision on what they find.
“Social media is a primary vehicle of communication today, and because much of that communication is public, it’s no surprise some recruiters and hiring managers are tuning in,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.
CareerBuilder also asked employers why they use social networks to research candidates, and
65% said they do it to see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally. About half (51%) want to know if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, and another 45% want to learn more about his or her qualifications. Some cited “to see if the candidate is well-rounded” and “to look for reasons not to hire the candidate,” as their motives.
So, if you’re among the 89% of job seekers that use social networking sites (daily, sometimes, or rarely), you’ll want to be careful.
A third (34%) of employers who scan social media profiles said they have found content that has caused them not to hire the candidate. About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos and information posted on his or her profile; while 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles. Other reasons they decided not to offer the job: the candidate’s profile displayed poor communication skills, he or she bad mouthed previous employers, made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion, or lied about qualifications.
(Haefner says no matter what information is found on a candidate, and regardless of where it’s found, the process has to abide by fair and equal hiring practices.)
“If you choose to share content publicly on social media, make sure it’s working to your advantage,” Haefner says. “Take down or secure anything that could potentially be viewed by an employer as unprofessional and share content that highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a positive way.”
BradSchepp, co-author of How To Find A Job On LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+,adds: “Make sure any profiles you write are free of typos, the information is coherent and applicable to your industry [or job you’re trying to land], and your photos present you in a favorable light. You can verify the applicability of the information by checking profiles of others in the same field.”
The information you provide online about your job background and accomplishments should also be consistent, he says. “Don’t assume an employer will only be checking you out on LinkedIn. They may also check Facebook, or even Twitter and Google+. The story you tell on each site should be pretty much the same, although it’s fine to adapt the material for the site.” The good news is that hiring managers aren’t just screening your social media profiles to dig up dirt; they’re also looking for information that could possibly give you an advantage. The CareerBuilder survey revealed that 29% of surveyed hiring managers found something positive on a profile that drove them to offer the candidate a job.
In some cases it was that the employer got a good feel for the candidate’s personality. Others chose to hire because the profile conveyed a professional image. In some instances it was because background information supported professional qualifications, other people posted great references about the candidate, or because the profile showed that the job seeker is creative, well-rounded, or has great communication skills.
This means the job seekers shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content; they should work on building strong social networks and creating online profiles that do a really good job of representing their skills and experience in the workplace, Simpson said in a press statement. “Job seekers who are silent or invisible online may be at a disadvantage. They need to engage on social networking sites to increase their visibility and searchability with prospective employers,” he said.
Cavalli agrees. “It’s not enough to only post a profile and check your news feed. There are a lot of lurkers–people who have an online profile but don’t do anything or engage in any meaningful way. You need to give to the social networking communities, participate in group discussions, share expertise, point someone to an article. You have to work it. While it can feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there, if you’re looking for a job, it’s not the time to be timid.”
Here are seven tips for landing a job using social media.