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Having previously honed in on the importance of personal branding within PR and recruitment, I’d like to explore the potential damage that social media can do to your career. As a candidate, it’s important to remember that employers are likely to Google you and browse through your social networking profiles; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Unlike Facebook which is easy to apply privacy settings to, unless you completely protect your tweets so that no one can see them, your Twitter stream is open for all to see. Potential employers will read what you’re writing and take note of who you’re tweeting, and from this will make judgements of your character and whether you are a suitable candidate or not. The same goes for when you’re in a job. You must always be aware of what you’re writing, whether you have 20 followers or 20,000 followers. Take the Grace Dent incident for example. Somebody almost lost their job because of one tweet that they typed without thinking, likening her to an “abhorrent horse”. The intention was harmless, but the outcome could have been completely disastrous for his career. It is vital that you think before you type.
As a head-hunter, I think that social networking leaves you open for attack, unless you do it well. It can be a great platform for communication and interaction. Charities tend to use social networks successfully, i.e. Oxfam and their new campaign for April, The Big Bra Hunt. They’ve managed to stay in Twitter’s Top Trends (#BigBraHunt) to help spread the word, and from this, the campaign has reached the House of Lords.
But I would say, if you’re not going to keep up to date with something, don’t bother at all. I’d much rather a candidate have no blog/stream than something that they update once every 6 months or so. It looks lazy and unprofessional, which is not what recruitment consultants look for in a candidate.
By Jamie McLaughlin