Clean up your Facebook for job applications

2014-06-12 10:41 - Duncan Alfreds
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Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Your social media profile could very well sink your next job application, says a human resource expert.

While many people are active on social media sites, a reckless regard for personal settings on your postings could result in you not being considered for a job, despite relevant qualifications.

"Your future employer will check your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles as well as any of your personal websites. Try to cleanse them of any questionable pictures and messages - photos of you at parties that got out of hand, dirty jokes, slanderous comments and so on," said Karen Ekron, head of department at Recruitment at Sage VIP Payroll & HR.

Social media sites are designed to be interactive life loggers and users generally turn to these sites to vent frustrations and record good times and social activities.

However, few realise that social media expressions can have real world implications.

Insight

A man in the Indian state of West Bengal used Facebook to blackmail a girl after he filmed the two of them having sex. He was arrested after posting the video online.

Jake Newsome in the UK wrote on Facebook that he was glad a teacher at Corpus Christi college in Leeds was stabbed. He was arrested over the offensive comments.

Social media experts have said that social network users should be aware of the repercussions their statements can have.

"I think that social media users need to wise up a little; they need to become a little bit more sensible as digital citizens," social media consultant for Afrosocialmedia Samantha Fleming told News24 recently.

As social media becomes ubiquitous for those seeking employment, it is likely that prospective employers will turn to social media to gain insight into candidates.

Job seekers should practise the decorum on social media sites that they would practise in real life, says an attorney.

"The first and most noticeable is that people do things and say things in the online world that they would never do or say in the real world. People hide behind what they think is the anonymity of the internet to say things they would never say in the real world," said Webber Wentzel social media lawyer Emma Sadleir.

Tips

Fleming added that real world behaviour should match that on social networks.

"My golden rule is always: If you are happy to stand up with a megaphone in front of a crowd of 500 people and share this, then you can put it on Facebook, Twitter, Mxit, Whatsapp or BBM. Otherwise, just don't go there."

Ekron gives these additional tips for job seekers:

- Be punctual
- Dress for success by wearing clothes appropriate for the company and job
- Prepare answers to common interview questions
- Prepare questions for the interviewer, but don't be aggressive
- Wait for the right moment to mention money and special requirements
- Be positive about your previous employers
- Look interested and engaged when the interviewer is talking
- Be enthusiastic, not desperate
- Answer every question honestly
- Treat every interview as though it's your first


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