Candidates overlook social media pitfalls when job hunting

Candidates overlook social media pitfalls when job hunting


Jobseekers who fail to tailor their social media profiles when applying for roles are jeopardising their chances of career progression, according to research carried out by global recruiter Randstad.

The survey of 2,000 British workers found that while 61% tailored their CV when they were looking for a new job, less than a fifth (19%) also amended their LinkedIn profiles to match. Furthermore, more than a third of respondents (34%) said they didn’t tailor either their CV or LinkedIn profiles when applying for a particular job.

The research also highlighted the different tactics used by men and women. While a quarter of men said they tailor their LinkedIn profile when applying for a new job, only 14% of women said they did so.

Mark Bull, CEO of Randstad UK, said: “LinkedIn is becoming a more widely-spread tool for building a career, but more users are falling prey to its limitations. Fewer than one in five employees will update their profile when applying for a new job. Employees forget that in the internet age, they effectively have two CVs – online as well as on paper. If their LinkedIn profile doesn’t match up to current skills, then they are at risk of falling flat.

“More than ever, employers are using the internet to whittle down candidates and create a shortlist of people they want to interview. LinkedIn is one of the main ways they do this. It is far better to leave your LinkedIn profile with minimal information, than to include a lot of details highlighting that your skills and experience are not perfectly matched to a role. Unless you have the time to tailor your LinkedIn profile to suit every role you are applying for, it is better to leave it sparse than risk appearing irrelevant.”

The research also found that more than half of workers doubt they would have been hired for their current role if they hadn’t filtered their social media presence when they applied for the position.

One in ten respondents said they wouldn’t have been hired if they hadn’t altered privacy settings on their profile beforehand. Meanwhile less than half of employees were certain their employer would still have hired them if they had been able to see all the information about them on the internet.

When asked which social media pitfalls they considered a threat to their future career, a quarter (25%) cited inappropriate images, 24% said offensive or contentious posts, while one in six (16%) said bad grammar and spelling and another sixth (16%) highlighted being caught ‘pulling a sickie’.

Only six per cent said a lack of social media presence was a threat to their career, while just one in 20 said an outdated LinkedIn profile was holding them back.

Bull concluded: “Most people are aware of the dangers of having inappropriate images or statements online – and the enormous damage it can cause to their career. In the past, candidates only had to worry about how they present themselves in person at an interview. Now, you must also consider how you present yourself online. But workers are less well versed in the hidden pitfalls of the social media landscape.”

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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