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Want an IT job? Spruce up your social networking accounts

April 09, 2013

Nowadays, snagging an IT job is more complicated than having a strong resume. While your tech credentials are certainly important, your web presence is becoming an increasingly influential factor in hiring decisions. From networking sites devoted to making business connections to more personal ones, employers are looking, and it's a job seeker's responsibility to keep tabs on what they'll see.

Professional social networks
One place you should start is you LinkedIn profile. According to ITWorld, many IT experts make critical mistakes when putting these profiles together, but most of those snafus are easily avoidable with a little extra attention to detail. 

One of the biggest slip-ups you can make is to not check that your resume and LinkedIn profile match, because tech employers do check

LinkedIn etiquette is different than resume conventions in that you can and should provide more detail about the nature of your job. You can also link to artifacts that showcase your accomplishments. For instance, if someone wrote a case study about an IT engagement you worked on, you can include the case study with some explanation of how your role contributed. 

Your recommendations—both the ones you receive and ones you write—also say a lot about you. Write thoughtful recommendations about colleagues and business associates you admire, and they might return the favor. 

And of course, one major cosmetic detail—make sure your profile picture is a good one. Professional headshots are strongly preferred; selfies from the club or with a significant other tend to reflect poorly on you. 

For certain professions, it can benefit you to include a resume link to your Stack Overflow, GitHub or even your Quora profile. 

Non-professional social networks
LinkedIn isn't the only kind of social media presence you should worry about. Hiring managers will often look at other profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter. Clean them up before sending out resumes. It's usually best to reserve political views for private networks. 

CAREEREALISM pointed out that unprofessional posts and images, such as documentation of a drunken party, can reduce a person's chances of being called in for an interview. But those looking for work shouldn't just worry about their own actions—the company they keep can be telling. The source advised that job seekers should tell their friends to lay off when it comes to potentially offensive comments. If they don't listen, deleting rude posts is always an option.

IT professionals should also treat these social networking sites like they would a job interview. Bad-mouthing former employers, complaining about co-workers or admitting to questionable behavior like playing hooky is a good way to make executives move on to the next application. Don't let an impulsive tweet or Facebook status ruin an opportunity for career advancement. Look at your own posts with a critical eye before applying for a job.

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