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Don’t let social media derail your job search
by Jessie Richardson, Contributing Writer

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Article Sponsored by: USAA

Do you have a link on your Facebook page to a gross YouTube clip or, even worse, to articles affirming your stance on polarizing political issues?

If so, please realize that you have a 50/50 chance of offending a potential employer. At the very least, your annoying stupid human trick or adamant political view might introduce enough questions in the hiring manager's mind to eliminate you, even though you are an otherwise good match for her job opening.

Are you guilty of the “boredom update": You’re tired, bored, sleepy - i.e. (in the eyes of the hiring manager) unmotivated? Have you Twittered that "work is putting me to sleep today?".

If, like me, you’ve been guilty of these social media crimes, read on. I was recently alerted to the most comprehensive article on the pitfalls of social media sites (such as Twitter and Facebook) when it comes to a job search I have yet to read. The article, entitled “The 10 Worst Social Media Mistakes That Will Prevent You from Landing a Job” is an in-depth look at common social media mistakes many job seekers, including military, are making through the eyes of potential employers.

The article stresses the importance of the following:

  • The dangers of sharing too much information.
  • How to customize backgrounds and graphics to make you standout from the crowd.
  • Why having too many friends isn’t necessarily a good thing. - How to create separate social and business accounts, and why you should do so.
  • When and what to (or what not to) “update.”
  • Why spam, spelling mistakes, and other commonly overlooked issues could hold you back.

The following is an excerpt from the article: "While making one or more of the 10 worst social media mistakes can keep you from landing a job, there are also positive ways to socialize. Because many of us find jobs through friends, a simple 'anyone hiring a _______?' update can actually be worth the five seconds it takes to post it. In addition, if there is a company you would really like to work for, be their friend on social media. Not only can you get hiring updates, but it also offers an insight to what excites them, what they are up to, and much more."

You can count on a compelling, professionally written military resume to spark employers’ interest in your value offered, but you can also count on their interest in your social media activities. So before you apply for that dream job, make social media work for and not against you.

Jessie Richardson, CPRW, is a candidate recruiter for Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI), the largest military-focused placement firm in the U.S., and former director of resume services at She is a Naval Academy graduate and regular commentator on job search best practices for military at the blog.

Return to November/December 2010 Issue