What does your social media profile say about you?

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Once a video or comment has been posted on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, it is virtually impossible to withdraw it and research shows your social media profile could make or break your next job opportunity.

"What you post YouTube stays on YouTube,' says Tasneem Mohamed, marketing manager of the Landelahni Recruitment Group. "Every post or comment leaves an indelible trail.

"Job seekers should take heed of the fact that social media are being used as a recruitment tool by employers. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the technology industry.'

According to the 2012 technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide, "Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate?s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.

"Previous surveys had found that almost 40% of survey respondents check out potential employees? profiles on social media sites. But this was the first evidence that candidates are actually being rejected because of them.'

There are currently more than 4-million registered Facebook users and more than 1-million registered LinkedIn members in South Africa, and these numbers are set to increase. "With this easily obtainable database of prospective candidates, it is clear that the use of social media as a recruitment tool will continue to grow across all industries,' says Mohamed.

"Your social media profile is a powerful tool that can unlock job opportunities. But it must be managed in a responsible way. Your online footprint is a reflection of your personal brand. Your profile, status updates, threads and pictures form a picture that may influence a potential employer?s hiring decision.'

Mohamed lists some of the benefits of using social media as a career development tool:

? Social media provide you with an opportunity to create an online biography that highlights your knowledge, skills set and accomplishments.
? A social media profile that is well-managed positions you as a career seeker who is technologically savvy.
? Social media enable you to extend your reach into a range of industries and connect with individuals whom you may not otherwise have had access to.
? A professional and well-planned social media profile can lead you to your next career opportunity - anywhere in the world.

"While the benefits of accessibility, reach and impact make social media a powerful tool for job seekers, there are a few pitfalls that you should be aware of,' says Mohamed. These include:

? Having a social media identity means potential employers have access to personal information that would otherwise be private, such as photos, comments and networks.
? By posting inappropriate photographs of yourself you may jeopardise the way a potential employer views you.
? Inconsistencies in your social media profile across different platforms and misalignment with your CV may create a perception of deception or dishonesty.
? On Facebook, your status updates, postings and threads should not be used as a forum to complain about your current boss or organisation. Don?t post anything that could embarrass you in the future.
? LinkedIn provides a more credible forum for creating a professional profile.
? Do activate security settings on accounts such as Facebook. This will make you less vulnerable to people posting comments on your page that could impact negatively on your professional image.

What do you think?
Are social media profiles a feasible way of knowing applicants? Is it fair for employers to judge candidates based on their social media image?

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