Using Social Media in Your Search

Social media has changed the way students and employers connect with each other. Employers are turning to social media not only connect with candidates, but also to gain more insight into who you really are. 

Employers check social media just as they do your resume and references. If employers check your social media channels, will you be someone they will want to hire - or someone to avoid?  

Finding Opportunities

More than 85% of people find their jobs through some form of networking, because many jobs go unadvertised. You never know where you will find your next job. By learning how to use social networking sites such as LinkedIn, you can build a professional online presence. 

Using social networking professionally and responsibly can help you explore career options, conduct informational interviews with Cal U alumni, connect with professionals in your chosen career field, or research companies related to your career interest.

Important Safeguards

Here are steps you should take to manage your presence online to help, not derail, your job search and your future career.

  • Know what is out there from you - and about you - on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media. Do a self-check and Google yourself. Seeing what digital dirt is out there so you can put out any social media fires before they are out of control. Set a Google News Alert (http://www.google.com/alerts) for your name so you will be notified when your name hits the web.
  • Avoid posting anything online when you're upset or angry. Remember, it takes seconds to post, but those posts will last a lifetime.
  • Know that privacy settings don't matter! Just because you've put your settings to "private" doesn't mean your content is safe. Screenshots or commenting on a public page can negate those privacy settings.
  • Untag yourself in pictures that you would not want your parents or employer to see. Examples: pictures that show alcohol or drugs/drug paraphernalia, or photos that are provocative or sexually explicit.
  • Control how you are tagged in pictures so that your "friends" do not present you in a situation that may harm your employment opportunities.
  • Avoid posts with profanity, discriminatory remarks and making fun of peers/bosses/company. Watch opinions and disagreements with others. Don't be negative!
  • Keep your posts positive and more on the professional side. Voicing your strong dislike for your boss, company or just people in general can get you fired or prevent you from landing that dream job.
  • Limit what you share and your use of hashtags.
  • Do not post while at work. Employers may monitor employees' social media, so posting on work time can and will get you fired.

Resources and Next Steps

To learn more about using social media in your job search, see the Career Resource Handbook.

The following resources also provide more information. If you have more questions about using social media for networking and job hunting, the Career and Professional Development Center can help you. Staff can discuss effective tips and guidelines, and teach you how to create a positive professional impression online to effectively showcase your skills and qualifications to prospective employers. 

To schedule an appointment, log into your Handshake account and click on the Appointments link under the Career Center tab. You also can stop in for quick tips during drop-in hours from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every weekday at the Natali Student Center, Suite 138.

These resources also offer tips about using social media: