Social Media Checklist for the Job Seeker

Question: Should organizations posting on Facebook be held accountable for the information contained on their sites? What do you think? And what would you do if you later discovered information you posted on Facebook was inexact?

Many articles and blogs will advise you as to which social media to include in your job search kit including advice on how to use each one.  The intent of this article is to advise you as to which steps you might take to preserve your credibility and the accuracy of information you use in your job search kit tool.

One of my clients recently learned a lesson that cost time, energy, resources and money.  He took action based on what later proved to be inexact information posted on Facebook.  Precious resources were expended that might have been better spent on his job search or in helping others land a job! But a lesson learned is an investment in the future and well worth the cost necessary for personal and professional growth.

Facebook is the more relaxed form of the social media forums allowing the user to build a network grounded in family and friends, not with professional contacts or colleagues as is the case with LinkedIn.  Postings have more to do with family events, trips and social occasions rather than professional accomplishments or shared professional interests.   Facebook is far-reaching and extensive allowing the user to ‘share’ across continents and time zones.

Many users comment that it is ‘…fun…’ as interactions are daily, sometimes minute to minute, and with pictures. No more need for the traditional ‘Family Reunion’!

How Does Facebook Affect Your Job Search?

‘Networking’ is one of the most important tools for the job seeker and Facebook is evolving into the medium which enables the job seeker to aggressively expand his/her network based on social connections.  Your skills and abilities are out there for everyone to see, but so are your interests and hobbies. Facebook allows job seekers to reach out to those working within target companies using a relationship with family or a friend.  Family and friends become engaged in your job search and are active participants to your success when you land a job! A win-win for your social relationships!

‘Branding’ is the other most important job search tool and Facebook puts a ‘face’ to the job seeker.  Facebook is visual and the job seeker becomes a person with interests and activities not just words on a resume. Facebook can help you build an online professional presence, build and project confidence. It is important to make a good impression so keep that Facebook profile professional!

The Credibility Checklist

Know Your Source
Do you have a personal connection with the source of the information you are posting? It is someone you know? Someone connected with family and/or friends?  Are you sharing information from an organization, group or cause with which you have personal experience? Look for real credentials that support experience in your area of interest.  Make sure the source is accessible and takes the time to answer questions and verify information.

Check The Facts
Your Facebook page creates and projects a public image. Any misinformation you post may permanently damage your personal and professional credibility and social relationships. Take time to conduct research and check the facts before hitting the ‘Like’ or ‘Post’ button.

Trust is rooted in truth, and the consequences for relaying false or misleading information even unintentionally in a public forum may have drastic consequences for your job search!  Be skeptical with postings that have coined or repeated phrasing. Users control the content and authenticity of any information that is posted, not Facebook or any other social medium.  Share information that is sincere yet with resources that can easily be verified.

Question: Should bloggers and organizations posting on Facebook be held accountable for the information contained in their sites?

What do you think?

Do Not Act/React Emotionally! 
Resist the temptation to post any information based on what you feel versus what you know.  Refrain from sharing information that plays upon emotions or elicits an impulsive reaction.  Are the timelines for action true? Is the intention of the writer to elicit an emotional response from the reader?

Be objective and avoid sharing any information intended to change your values or force you to express a judgment not your own!

Remember, the World is Watching!
Facebook profiles and postings leave very little to the imagination.  Who you are, what you believe, and with whom you associate are posted for all to see.    If you are in a job search, exercise caution and restraint as to what you post and share. ‘Private’ may not always maintain your privacy and not always protect you.

Will This Information Help You Achieve Your Job Search Goals
Avoid straying too far from your goal, that of landing a job. If you are using social media as a job search tool, then limit your postings and sharing of information to stories and experiences that are relevant to your job search.  Facebook is fun! but land that new job first before you post pictures of your recent trip to Barbados or Fiji with a singles travel group!

To Disclaim or Not To Disclaim! 
If you discover you have posted inexact information to your Facebook page, the dilemma is whether or not to publicly acknowledge your mistake.  This goes to your personal values.  Fortunately, Facebook allows users to ‘Unfriend” or ‘Unlike” any friend or organization.  To my knowledge, this action is not made ‘Public’. This might be a good first step.  A private message to your family and friends might be a wise second step.  Your acknowledgement will show your integrity without publicly damaging your credibility.

Question: What would you do?