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Want an IT job? Spruce up your social networking accounts

April 09, 2013
By TEKsystems

Nowadays, snagging an IT job is more complicated than having a strong resume. While a tech expert's credentials are certainly important, one's 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 that those looking for IT jobs should start is their 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. 

The source suggested that one of the biggest slip-ups aspiring staff members make is not backing up their claims. While an individual may have filled in his or her job titles and relevant dates, proving one's mettle often takes a bit more effort. LinkedIn profiles should include details about past positions in the form of fleshed-out explanations, not bullet points. Since the site isn't a formal resume, this is a good time to get all the necessary information out there without worrying too much about saving space. In addition, another common folly is advertising lists of skills without any endorsements or recommendations to corroborate the claims. Those looking to make an IT career move should reach out to former co-workers and employers to put in a good word for them, as this will improve their chances of catching a CIO's eye.

And of course, one major cosmetic detail—IT professionals should make sure their profile picture is a good one. Preferably, the source advised, it should be a simple headshot. Save those funny image macros for conversations between friends. Most importantly, make sure there's something to fill that space, as not having a photograph can make managers suspicious, career coach David Hults told ITWorld.

Non-professional social networks
The information that job seekers post on websites like LinkedIn may be targeted toward employers and business contacts, but this certainly doesn't mean it's the only kind of social media presence professionals should worry about. Hiring managers will often look at other personal accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. Though these sites may be perceived as more personal in nature, they are up for scrutiny as well, so professionals should clean them up before sending out resumes.

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.

One way for IT workers to avoid these hassles entirely is by locking down their profiles. Any information still accessible to the public, like a profile picture, should be appropriate, but tweaking security settings will reduce the chance of mistakes reaching CIOs' eyes.

Of course, if an IT worker finds the prospect of employers checking out their accounts daunting, he or she could call in some expert assistance. A professional recruiter can advise hopeful employees on where they may be going wrong and how they can improve, maximizing the chance they'll catch the eye of executives at their dream job.

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