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Your online presence could help or hinder your career

For many Americans, the advent of social media, texting, twittering, is too much to keep up with. But, if you are looking for a job or working at a company, it might be to your advantage to be aware of the potential pitfalls of using social media so that you don't get fired from your job, or overlooked for a position because of your postings.

According to Mindflash.com, 45 percent of employers use social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to screen potential employees. Employers aren't looking for negative information, but in some cases looking at these sites gives them a good idea about the type of person that may be joining their company. In fact, 18 percent of employers found content on these sites that influenced them to go ahead and hire a candidate.

On the flip side, 35 percent of employers found content that caused them not to hire someone. With this in mind, employees of companies need to be mindful about what information they are posting because the National Labor Relations Board has given employers a free hand in firing employees for inappropriate material found on social networks. It seems that people don't realize the far-reaching effects of social media. They may think that what they are posting is to their site and their friends, without realizing that friends of friends may see what they posted and pass along that information.

So what things would most likely get you fired or lose out on a coveted job? The list could vary by employer, but the top reasons include:

  • Posting inappropriate photographs and comments.
  • Badmouthing a previous employer.
  • Leaving annoying and pointless comments on blogs and on Twitter.
  • Using swear words in your posts.
  • Adding sketchy people to your network of friends that then post inappropriate material.
  • Being negative all of the time - never posting the positives in your life like awards, achievements, etc.

The takeaway from social media is to embrace the technology, but to think before you post.

Source: Huffington Post, "How Companies Use Facebook To Hire And Fire Employees," James Sunshine, Mar. 12, 2012

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