It seems that almost everyone uses some social media today whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or the next new thing. There are plenty of positive reasons to use social media in your academic job search, but there are also a few reasons to be cautious. Multiple surveys have shown that a fairly high percentage of employers will review the social media profiles of potential employees. It is important for those seeking higher education careers to understand how social media could benefit or harm their chances of landing a job.
Character, personality, professionalism, and finding a good fit are important when hiring staff and faculty. Social media profiles and pictures can provide insight into these traits and can give potential employers reasons to hire you as well as reasons to move on to the next candidate. Your profile should highlight your positive traits and accomplishments and remove (or make “private”) anything that could be viewed negatively.
Employers use social media to compare your profiles to what you have submitted on your resume or discussed during the interview so you want to make sure that the information matches from profile to profile. That does not mean that you need to post every detail in every profile, but what is posted should be consistent. LinkedIn pages are often viewed as professional pages while Facebook and Twitter are considered more personal but potential employers may look at any of them.
Social media can allow you to build strong professional networks when used properly. You can use these sites to engage with other professionals, highlight your expertise, and connect with potential employers. However you use social media in your search for an academic career, make sure that your future employer sees the best that you have to offer.
Kelly Miller has held faculty and administrative roles as well as author, presenter, curriculum writer, and textbook reviewer.
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