Keep social networking sites from killing your job search

Looking for a new job? There’s one thing could severely hurt your chances:

Your social networking profile.

Almost half (45%) of hiring managers check candidates’ online profiles before making a decision, according to a CareerBuilder survey.

And more often than not, they aren’t pleased with what they find — 35% of managers say they’ve immediately screened out a candidate based on a profile, compared to just 18% who’ve been encourage to hire folks based on their online presence.

How can IT pros turn social networking sites into a help rather than a hindrance? Aside from the obvious (i.e., don’t post inappropriate photos or comments), follow these tips:

  1. Use search-friendly keywords to describe your work experience. That’s especially important on professional-oriented sites like LinkedIn, which companies often search through to find candidates.
  2. Join online groups related to your areas of expertise.
  3. Brag about awards and accolades you’ve received.
  4. Be selective about who you accept as friends. Comments other people leave on your profile can be nearly as damaging as what you write yourself.
  5. Remember proper grammar and spelling. Hiring managers check online profiles for insights into candidates’ communication skills.