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Looking for that dream career? Keep your selfie to yourself when job hunting

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It has become cliche to say social media is ubiquitous in modern society. People spend vast amounts of time carefully curating their profiles on platforms like Facebook and Twitter in order to create the impression they want to project to the world.

It is this culture of constant exposure that has given birth to the selfie phenomenon. According to an Ofcom report, during 2014, an estimated 1.2bn ‘selfies’ were taken in Britain. This means that on average, every person in the country took 18.75 selfies. Despite the widespread adoption amongst the public, many companies do not look positively on this trend.

People take selfies for many reasons, but it commonly seems to be a desire to document themselves doing something notable in order to present themselves in a certain light. Often this is done to create a certain impression amongst friends and peers or to receive ‘likes’ and ‘favourites’.

However, many jobseekers, and millennials in particular, fail to recognise the effect that social media profiles might have on their job search. For instance, would you be surprised to learn that 34 per cent of UK recruiters would view the posting of a selfie on social media in a negative light? According to the Jobvite UK Social Recruiting Survey this is the case.

Growing up social

In its early years, social media was primarily a platform for interaction between friends and peer groups. Facebook in particular was aimed at the student populations of specific universities, so the ramifications of any potential activity were limited to the confines of the network.

As the networks have expanded, they have become home to a much broader demographic and its use as a tool for professionals has increased exponentially.

Recruitment professionals are now on social media in force, with 40 per cent using the channels to cast a wide net for candidate identification. Of the UK recruiters who are not currently utilising social media, 46 per cent plan to start doing so in the next year.

 Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are currently the most popular platforms with recruiters, as 75 per cent favour Facebook, with 57 per cent and 38 per cent also using Twitter and LinkedIn respectively.

So what does this mean for jobseekers? With the expanding presence of recruiters on social media, an opportunity has been created for people to showcase themselves in the best possible light, while demonstrating they possess the skills and characteristics recruiters are looking for.

Read more strange details on the job-seeking process:

How to stand out on social

One of the easiest ways to optimise your social profiles to secure that perfect role is to include positive elements of your life. One of the most effective is evidence of social engagement work.

This could take the form of charity work or volunteering, or it could be something you have done in a more professional context. Whatever it is, 67 per cent of recruiters view engagement in these activities positively.

In addition to demonstrating a social conscience, appropriate interaction with current events is highly desirable for recruiters, with 57 per cent of them looking upon this type of behaviour in a positive light. So ensure you act in a mature manner when engaging with news stories or it could hinder finding that next job.

Equally important is what not to do. Spelling and grammatical errors are frowned upon by 54 per cent of recruiters, so be sure to avoid mistakes and double-check your posts for errors.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the occasional misspelling or grammatical misstep, but if it happens regularly, take action sooner rather than later.

Most of us enjoy a tipple now and then, but it is not something we should be sharing on social media during a job hunt. 46 per cent of recruiters view posts about alcohol consumption as a negative thing that can impact them hiring you.

Even worse than this though is posting about marijuana consumption, as 65 per cent of recruiters see it in a bad light.

Finally, remember that it is possible to have fun with social media whilst still staying in responsible bounds.

In fact, if you are too robotic online, people are unlikely to be drawn to your profile. As a general rule, avoid sharing posts to a public audience that you would be uncomfortable with your parents seeing.

You can still share a joke with friends, but first make sure that the appropriate filters are in place to keep your personal life private. This way, you can have the best of both worlds!

Matt Singer is VP of marketing at recruitment channel Jobvite

Jobvite, the recruitment platform used by Twitter and Starbucks, opens UK office to tackle Europe

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