Job Seekers Beware – 9 Major Social Media Pitfalls!

June 18, 2012

Without a doubt, social media offers a variety of benefits and opportunities for job seekers. However, as much as we encourage you to take advantage of the pluses, we also want you to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Here’s our list of the 9 major social media pitfalls to dodge during your job search:

1. Lying about your work history and qualifications

Doing this in any way, shape or form is a NO-GO! The rise of social media profiles makes it A LOT easier for potential employers to catch false information. Nobody likes a cheater! Your work experience, as shown on LinkedIn or Facebook, should match the resume that you hand to employers. Your information should be consistent across all networks.

2. Posting offensive comments anywhere social

Any use of profanity or offensive language will reflect negatively upon you, so avoid status updates and comments that could be interpreted as racist, sexist, criminal or discriminatory in any way (even if you assume that no one would take it seriously…someone could, and that someone shouldacoulda been your boss.)

3. Badmouthing a former employer, colleague, supervisor…etc.
This should be a no-brainer, but surprisingly enough, many people still air-out dirty laundry about past or current employment situations without considering the consequences. If you give someone the impression that you’ll badmouth them once you part ways, it’s unlikely they’ll even consider you. Also, beware the “I’m so bored,” or “this work stinks” posts. They reek of “lazy bum.” And, of course, revealing any snippet of confidential company information is 100% off-limits.

4. Not doing good with your grammar. (doing well!)
Yes, even with 140 characters in a tweet, using correct grammar is key! How many job postings do you see with “strong written and/or verbal communication skills” as REQUIREMENTS? These aren’t optional anymore. So don’t make a poor first impression by using subpar grammar. If your Facebook posts are consistently sporting spelling errors, incorrect usage, or odd abbreviations, potential employers don’t ignore them. Check your grammar and spelling to make sure that it’s top notch.

5. Sharing questionable pictures.
Whenever you upload a new photo, keep in mind that the wrong picture could easily go viral. Your friends might decide to share the pictures on their (public) networks. Or, even worse, they tagged you, and now all someone has to do is type your name into a search engine, and voilà… Look. At. You. Don’t let this happen. Adjust your privacy settings so prior approval of tags is required, and keep any inappropriate pictures offline (and as far away from potential employers as possible). What’s “inappropriate”? See grandma rule from former blog!

6. Venting, venting…and more venting.
We understand that there are days where you need to let off some steam, but as tempting as it may be to express your anger and frustration with 1000 of your closest friends on Facebook or Twitter, it may come back to haunt you. Think potential employers may see it as a sign of emotional instability? (Duh.) So if you’re angry or upset, give yourself time to cool off, or go to the gym and sweat it out. Never post anything in the heat of the moment.

7. Oversharing
Social networks encourage you to share information with your friends, but there are limits. One way to avoid this is to not make your online presence all about you. Share some interesting articles and videos. That way you’ll show that you have something meaningful to say other than what’s on TV tonight or what your doctor says about your intestinal problems. In short: know what to share, when to share it and with whom. Maintain a level of professional aloofness by limiting the content you upload.

8. Joining questionable groups or discussions
Who doesn’t enjoy networking with like-minded people? If you are actively searching for a job in a certain field, joining industry related discussions and groups is a great way of showing initiative and passion for a field. However, be careful about the more ‘casual’ groups you are joining. If you belong to “I don’t get drunk, I get awesome!” you might want to reconsider the talents you boast to the online universe. And, clearly, any discriminatory groups fall under the category of BAD IDEA.

9. Ignoring what everyone’s saying on your networks  
Pay attention. You probably won’t have time to check all your networks regularly (seeing how there’s a new one every week), so using a social monitoring service like Reppler will help you manage your professional online image across the different networks. With Reppler, you’ll receive instant notification if there is inappropriate content on any of your profiles. The sooner you fix the content, the better.


What Employers Are Looking For When They Screen Your Social Networks

May 21, 2012

It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers are going to sneak a peek at your social networks during the application process. But do you know what they’re actually sifting through your profiles to find? In a recent Reppler survey, we asked hiring managers if they have ever hired a candidate as a result of their social networking site content, and, if so, what specific factors influenced their decisions.

These were the Top 5 “it” factors they reported:

  1. The candidate gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit.
  2. The profile supported their professional qualifications.
  3. The profile showed that the candidate was creative.
  4. The candidate demonstrated solid communication skills.
  5. The profile showed that the candidate was well-rounded.

On the flip-side, we also wanted to know how hiring managers responded to any questionable social media content. Jennifer King, HR analyst at Software Advice, interviewed several recruiters and hiring managers to shed some light on this subject.*

There’s good news in that, while some recruiters outright reject candidates based on their social network content, others prefer to give the candidate a chance for redemption. That being said, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a chance to explain any or every raging weekend party picture. To be safe, we always recommend implementing the “grandma test” to keep profiles in check. If grandma wouldn’t be ok with it, don’t share it! Even if your privacy settings are set to “Friends only”, you never know who might gain access to your profile, or what your connections will share. Nothing that you put online is private!

Amy Henderson, account executive with Technisource, and one of King’s interviewees, offers this conclusion, “Perception is reality in the business world. The way people perceive you online, through social media–that’s what they use to make first impressions. And those first impressions are lasting impressions.”

*For more insights, check out the full article by Jennifer King.


Graduation Time: Get Your Social Networks Job Search Ready

May 8, 2012

Happy graduation month! While there is much to celebrate, most of you are aware that the “next step” clock is ticking away. What lies ahead? What happens now?

According to a recent Associated Press article, 1 in 2 new college graduates are jobless or underemployed. And job opportunities in popular fields, including education, healthcare, fine arts and humanities are in limited supply. The highly competitive job market forces all job seekers, especially recent grads, to step up their game, and social media provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

In Reppler’s recent survey, 91% of employers said they use social networks to screen applicants. Social networks can go beyond the scope of resumes and cover letters, granting employers insights into your personality and character. These insights can help assess your compatibility with both the position and a company’s overall culture. Take advantage! Your personality, achievements and interests need to convince employers that you’re a great fit–and a wise investment.

Unfortunately, for all the benefits social media provides, you can’t ignore its dark side. Everything written or published on the web stays. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey, 34% of hiring managers find negative and inappropriate material on social networks that causes them to eliminate candidates. This material includes, but is not limited to (Hint: This is what you want to avoid!):
·         References to alcohol and drug abuse
·         Sexually explicit photos
·         Derogatory language
·         Bad-mouthing former employers/co-workers

To show our support for new graduates (and, of course, anyone else in search of a job), we’re going to be providing a series of posts around job searching with social media throughout May. Stay tuned to find out what potential employers want to see on social networks, what pitfalls to avoid and which networks to leverage in your job search.


Your Professional Online Image Has Been Tainted – What Now?

April 17, 2012

Whether you’re a recent graduate in search of a new job, or a working professional looking to take the next step in your career, owning and managing your online image is crucial. As we all know, anything goes online, and the sheer size of the web gives anyone with a connection access your good, bad and ugly, alike.

If you’ve come across negative information about you online, here are steps to help build yourself back up:

1.   Know what’s out there, so there are no surprises.
Google your name, and take a close look at the first few pages. Since online screening has become an important part of the hiring process, it’s key to be aware of the information that’s out there about you. If you know what’s out there, you’ll be prepared to address any inquiries.

2.   Be upfront and proactive.
If you do end up having to field questions regarding negative online content, take the proactive approach. Be honest about what’s being said and why, and share how you are going to respond.

3.   Have it removed (or remove it yourself).
The longer you wait to remove unsavory content, the further it could spread. If you posted something inappropriate on your social media accounts, simply delete it. If someone else posted a negative comment, ask them to remove it. If the other party is unwilling to comply, consider raising the stakes and taking legal action. Also, if the damage to your reputation is substantial, consider a professional reputation management service that will help you remove content.

4.   Create your own content.
Many employers will only look at the first few pages after entering your name in search engines. By posting your own content, you can help push down any negative content and showcase your own positive content. Traditional blogs, video blogs and social media profiles rank high on search engines, so create as much positive content as possible. Also, consider deleting unused accounts that might contain outdated personal information.

With vigilance and initiative, negative online content can be resolved. But it’s always a good idea to be proactive–taking steps to ensure that YOU are the one dictating your online reputation.


Protect Your Professional Image on Facebook Timeline

February 10, 2012

On February 14th, Facebook Timeline will go live for ALL users, signaling a final departure from the traditional Facebook profile. Timeline is a visual aggregation of your Facebook History. From the book you read in 2005 to the movie you watched last month to the song you’re listening to right now, Timeline shares all.

Users need to recognize the risks involved with Timeline. Once you have Timeline, it reveals pictures, status updates and events chronologically from when you first started Facebooking to the present time. This means that people will be able to scroll through your history, potentially discovering posts or pictures you’d rather leave in the past.
Here are four simple steps to help you “clean” your Timeline—so you can continue to convey a positive Facebook image:

1. Make your profile private: Go to Privacy Settings > “How You Connect”. Switch “Who can post on your Timeline” and “Who can see posts by others on your Timeline?” from “Public” to “Friends”.

Go to Privacy Settings > “How Tags Work”. Switch the settings for “Maximum Timeline Visibility” from “Public” to “Friends.”

2. Limit your audience for past posts:  Go to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts”. Click “Manage Past Post Visibility”, then “Limit Old Post”. Now, your past posts are visible to your Friends only, even if you initially made them public.

3. Hide or delete posts:  Click on the edit button at the top of the content item and choose “Hide from Timeline” or “Delete Post”. You’ll need to click on each month and hide or delete all of those posts individually.

4. Delete posts from other Timelines: Go to “Activity Log”, click on “All” to see all of your posts, comments, likes and events, organized by date. Click on “Your Posts” to see all your posts and comments on other people’s Wall, and delete anything that could be considered inappropriate

5. Monitor your profile:  Use a monitoring service like Reppler to ensure that your profile always projects the “you” that everyone from your parents to your buddies to a potential employer should see. Set up your Reppler account so that you will be notified as soon as flagged content shows up on your profile.

If you’ve been on Facebook for a long time, “cleaning” your Timeline can be time consuming. But it’s well worth the effort!


TrustedID Acquires Reppler to Deliver Industry-Leading Reputation Management

February 2, 2012

We are excited to announce that TrustedID, an industry leader in identity theft protection, has welcomed Reppler into its family of services. Reppler’s advanced reputation management and protection services will strengthen TrustedID’s award-winning identity safeguards in the realm of social media.

According to the 2011 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, identity theft remains the top consumer complaint. And in this digital age, we are constantly sharing personal information online–essentially granting outside access to this information.

In fact, with something as simple as your name, address or phone number, identity thieves can gain access to your Social Security number, credit cards, and more. At Reppler, we recognize that monitoring your online image across various social media accounts is a large part of identity protection, as users often unintentionally reveal information that pose reputation and security risks.

While integrating Reppler into TrustedID’s services marks the beginning of a new chapter for us, we want to ensure our users that your service will not stop. For now, you will receive the same service you’ve been using, and we will keep you updated about any further developments in the future. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch with us on Facebook.


Do You Know Your Audience?

October 11, 2011

On September 27, we launched a new version of Reppler with exciting new features. One of the new features is the Your Networks section of the My Networks page. Your Networks gives you a comparison of your connections across the different social networks you use. In this blog post, we will explain why this is important for managing your professional reputation.

Whether you are a student, currently employed or looking for a new job, creating and maintaining a professional online presence is more important than ever. However, in order to build that professional online presence, your have to know who you are communicating to. Who is the audience of your posts and status updates, and how would you like to be perceived by them? The abundance of social networks available on the web makes it difficult to keep track of who you added on what network. Imagine you forgot that you added your boss or coworker on Facebook, and you just posted about the long weekend in Vegas which you supposedly spent in bed with a fever, or your friends decide to post pictures of your last night out, one of your not so stellar moments.

It takes one bad judgment like that – an unflattering photo, an inappropriate comment or something more serious- and your professional reputation will take a serious hit. Also, keep in mind that the different networks show different sides of you. While Facebook zooms in on your social life and personal interests, LinkedIn emphasizes your professional accomplishments and allows you to make connections with other professionals. You may want your current employer to see your professional side on LinkedIn or Twitter, but do you really want him or her to see your party habits on the weekend?  And even if you did not add your boss to your Facebook connections, you might have added one of your coworkers who is secretly showing your employer the inappropriate content on your Wall. It is easy to lose track of all the people with whom you are sharing personal information, so there is a high risk that damaging information reaches the wrong audience.

Reppler’s new Your Network section shows how many network connections you have on each individual network, and it also displays how many connections you have across all networks combined. However, the most valuable information for users to observe is how many connections overlap within their networks. You will be able to see how many of your Facebook friends are also on your Twitter and LinkedIn network or how many of your professional contacts on LinkedIn are also connected to you on Facebook. You now know who you are communicating to, which allows you to better manage your profiles and your connections in order to maintain a professional online image. Take a look at Reppler’s Your Network section, and make sure that next time you post an update on one of your networks, you know exactly who your audience is.


A Guide for Creating A Professional Image on LinkedIn

September 23, 2011

LinkedIn, the leading professional network on the web, is an indispensable resource for job seekers and professionals. Besides offering unique networking opportunities with professionals from all industries, a LinkedIn profile can help to offset any negative content about you online. LinkedIn has currently more than 100 million users, and its members comprise 170 different industries, and include 130,000 recruiters who use the network to search for potential candidates on a daily basis. Furthermore, all Fortune 500 companies are represented on LinkedIn, so it is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to help you in your job search. Here are some tips on how to build a strong online presence on LinkedIn.

6 Tips for LinkedIn

Your Profile Picture

Your public picture is the first thing people will notice on your profile. Faces are often easier to remember than names, so adding a picture will help others identify you when adding you as a connection on LinkedIn. A clear, up-to-date, professional-looking headshot of you with a clear background is a great way to make a good first impression.

Write a Summary

The summary provides you with an opportunity to show who you are and what you do. Be as concise and specific as possible, but also use it as a tool to engage with people and draw in their attention. Don’t forget to include a catchy headline!

Fill Out the Bio

One of the reasons why LinkedIn is a popular tool among recruiters is that users have to be honest in their Bios, as most of them have previous employers and colleagues in their LinkedIn network. Any lies and exaggerations are easy to catch. Just like in your regular resume, accentuate your strengths and highlights, while providing context around your job responsibilities.

Optimize Your Profile

To get the most out of your LinkedIn resume, you need to include keywords and skills from your resume in your profile. LinkedIn has the ability to search any word in the content, and if you list all relevant keywords at the bottom of the page, it will make it easier for your profile to be found in search results.

Get Recommendations

One of the unique features of LinkedIn is the recommendation section, which gives potential employers the opportunity to read a reference in advance. People with strong references have better chances to be selected for an interview or for a job. Avoid exchanging meaningless recommendations with your friends, and rather focus on quality recommendations from people who have benefited from your work. Ask for benefits and results driven recommendations from people who’ve seen you in action and the best way to get recommendations is to give them, so take the time to write recommendations for some of your contacts, and hopefully they will reciprocate.

Build Your Network Before You Need It

Whether you are currently in search of a job or are just browsing the job market for new career opportunities, having a strong network can be a good form of job security. Don’t wait until it gets rough to build your network! In most cases it is much easier to build a relationship with someone you already know than with someone you just met.  Also, keep in mind that networking is not a one way street. It’s not just about what others can do for you, but also what you can do for others. Make the most of your networking opportunities and use LinkedIn as a tool to build a strong professional online image.


A Guide for Managing Your Professional Image on Twitter

September 16, 2011

Next to Facebook, Twitter is one of the most popular social recruiting platforms with over 100 million active users. If managed correctly, it can be a great tool for building your professional image. You can show off your expertise and engage with industry leaders and companies that you are interested in. By creating a Twitter profile, you have the opportunity to show them just how interested people are in what you have to say, and they will learn about your status in the industry. It will also increase your visibility and add to your credibility as a professional. More and more companies are using Twitter to seek new employees, but there are some common pitfalls users have to be aware off. The following guide provides some tips on how you can create a professional image on Twitter to propel your job search.

6 Tips for Twitter

Become an Expert in Your Field

Use status updates to tweet about industry topics, tips, and advice. Look for key influencers and industry leaders and follow them. If you see interesting material, re-tweet it or try to engage in a discussion. You might not get a response the first time around, but if you continuously contribute meaningful content to discussions, you will eventually be noticed.

Create an Informative Profile

Give concise information as to what you are all about, state a clear purpose and include a professional headshot as your profile picture. Make use of keywords that are applicable to your background and experience in order to catch the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.

Promote Yourself

Post links to your work and don’t be afraid to promote yourself in a responsible, non-annoying way (Don’t blatantly self-promote!). Add a link to your website, blog or LinkedIn account. Your profile’s main link should direct followers to the most relevant and engaging part of your website.

Monitor What Others Say About You

Your success on Twitter is measured by how much you are engaged in conversation, how often your tweets are re-tweeted and how many people are talking about you. You should always monitor what others are saying about you. To monitor yourself, enter your twitter handle (@yourname) in the search box or install TweetDeck on your desktop and then set up a search column for your Twitter handle. All tweets related to you will appear.

Follow the Companies That Interest You

If you already know what companies you would like to work for, ‘follow’ them! Just like with key influencers and industry leaders, try to engage with potential employers by posting meaningful comments and starting discussions.

Locate Job Search Resources

There a lot of resources on Twitter devoted to help users that are looking for new career opportunities. Search out recruiters, ‘follow’ them and don’t be afraid to note in your bio that you are looking for a new job. If you let people know what you are looking for, you’ll find many people happy to help you in your job search.

If you use Twitter effectively and responsibly, it can be a great starting point in your job search. But never forget how important it is to maintain a professional online image!


Manage Your Professional Reputation – Online and Offline

July 20, 2011

With more than 14 million Americans out of work and unemployment rates still on the rise, the job market remains highly competitive, so your professional reputation is as important as ever. While Reppler focuses on protecting your online image on social networking sites like Facebook, there are other areas of your life that affect your professional reputation. This article will look at reputation on a macro level to explain what information affects your employment and what potential employers are looking for.

Financial History

Many people believe that their financial history has nothing to do with their job performance, but most employers disagree. A survey by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2010 revealed that 60% of employers run credit checks on all or some applicants. Despite protests from employees, employers argue that it is just another screening tool to evaluate an employee for a job and helps to determine whether a potential employee is responsible, honest and accountable. If an applicant has a stable financial history, it is more likely that the person will stay at the job. Employers also check for fraud and dishonest financial behavior. So what can you do? Be prepared and know your credit score! Check your credit report once a year, and if an employer asks for your permission to run a credit check, be prepared to discuss any issues up-front. If you know there are imperfections in your credit report, explain the situation and don’t wait for the employer to find out.

The following site provides a free annual credit report:  https://www.annualcreditreport.com/

Public Records

Another area of interest is your public record. It’s estimated that up to 40% of resumes can contain false or tweaked information, so employers might want to verify your information to insure that what they are getting is what they were promised. Information in public records has been filed or recorded by public agencies and can be either created by the federal and local government (vital records, real estate records, driving records) or by the individual (magazine subscription, voter registration etc.). Even though most essential public records are maintained by the government, they are accessible to the public either free-of-charge or for an administrative fee.

To find out what information is on public record under your name, visit your state’s website or use a nationwide directory of online and offline public record sources such as http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/

Criminal Records

Employers are facilitating background checks more diligently, as negligent hiring suits are picking up and can cost the company millions of dollars. Checking driving records and criminal records is becoming a standard procedure for many employers. They are looking for information in your background that indicates a predisposition to violence or illegal activity. If you are planning on entering the job market, do a pre-screening yourself to make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises waiting in your criminal record. Just like with your financial background, it might be better to proactively address any issues in your criminal history. Being honest about it and admitting past mistakes will always work in your favor.

To pre-screen your criminal records, check online to see if your state has a criminal database on the internet. If not, you can also go to the local courthouse in which you believe you have committed a crime and access those records.

Personal (Offline) Image

Besides checking the official references provided on your application, some companies also check your reputation in their own networks. Employers might call up personal contacts in companies that you have worked for to ask for informal references, so it is important to display a professional attitude at your current job at all times. Even if the contact doesn’t have specific information regarding your job performance, he or she might have some general information about job related issues like reliability, punctuality and the way you present yourself; are you polite and friendly, or often grouchy and moody. Be aware of your professional image, not just with regard to your immediate supervisor, but also your general presence in the company.

Online Presence

Part of your professional reputation is your online presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and search engines like Google and Yahoo. Search for your name in Google to check what others can find out about you, and if you discover public information that could damage your reputation and limit your chances of finding employment, contact the source and ask them to remove the information. Setting up Google Alerts for your name will help you to monitor search engine results.  In 2009, a CareerBuilder survey revealed that 45% of employers employers are using social media sites to screen job applicants, so monitoring your online reputation is crucial nowadays. Before you start searching for a new job, clean up your social networking sites and your Facebook profile in particular. Remove inappropriate content from your wall, delete indecent pictures and adjust your privacy settings so that only friends can access your profile. Monitoring services like Reppler will help you to keep your Facebook image clean and safe.