How social media can help—and hurt—your professional prospects

February 6, 2012

By Aimee Hosier,

If you want some insight on how current or potential employers view you, try Googling yourself.

According to a Harris Interactive study, 45 percent of hiring managers used social media to screen and recruit new applicants in 2009, and 35 percent declined to hire a candidate thanks to content uncovered this way. The Wall Street Journal notes that some employers even continue to monitor your social media activity long after the hiring process, using certain posts as grounds for termination. While this trend can be troublesome for some job seekers or employees, others have turned it on its head.

“One of the best ways to gain recognition in a specific field is to use social media,” says career coach Debra Yergen, author of the “Creating Job Security Resource Guide.” In other words, the positive PR you generate using social networks can help you land a job just as easily as other activities (ahem) can make you lose one. The difference is in knowing how to use these tools appropriately.

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