Certified Personal TrainerFitness Professionals

Social Media and Job Searching: Benefits and Drawbacks.

Can social networking help you find your dream job? Definitely! But you have to be smart with what you post, who you follow, and privacy settings (especially if you have a more daring side).

Post This!

Start with creating your online presence with the three major social networking sites if you don’t already have profiles set up. These are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Fill out the important details, especially those that you’d want to share with potential employers or clients. Highlight your education, certifications, skills and experience. Keep these in alignment with what you may have included in a resume or an online application submission. Complete the summaries/about/bio sections and incorporate key words or phrases for the industry you are trying to connect to. Share content with your network that highlights your interests and is relevant to the job you are seeking (make sure to check your grammar and spelling). Include a photo and try to use a professional headshot if possible (versus the cropped photo of you at your best friends wedding).

Don’t Post That!

According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 39% of companies used social networking sites to research job candidates. Put your best face forward. Take advantage of privacy settings, especially with photographs and what others may post on your profiles! That same survey from CareerBuilder indicated that job applicants were taken “out of the running” for posts or photos that were provocative or inappropriate, or contained information about drinking, drug use, bad mouthing previous employers, in addition to poor communication skills and discriminatory comments. On the brighter side, candidates were more likely to receive a job offer if they conveyed such things as a professional image, a range of interests, or supported their stated job qualifications.

Privacy

Take a moment to search your name on various search engines. Are you surprised by what was found? The internet makes it incredibly easy to find out information on just about everything and everyone. Most social networking sites will quickly display if you have an account, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and a myriad of other directories. Sometimes searches may turn-up things (e.g., pictures, comments) you may not want an employer or client to see. Pause before you post and consider what message you are sending to an employer or client (past, present, or future). If in doubt, leave it out. Sites like Facebook have a range of privacy settings that can be applied, but nothing is ever fail-safe.

Connect and Follow

Follow your job field of interest and the companies you’d like to work with directly. According to a social networking and staffing survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more than half of organizations use social networking websites when recruiting candidates, and of the sites, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the three used most often. By following the groups you are interested in you’ll very likely be one of the first to know when there are employment opportunities. It’s typically a lot easier for a company to quickly post a job on their own social media site or web page than it might be to go through the added time and expense of other job boards. Connect with the individuals in your field and the companies you are interested in. Social networking allows you to connect with hundreds, if not thousands, of people, some of which may be interested in what you have to offer their business. You might be surprised how social circles overlap- shared acquaintances could open doors to new opportunities. Let your friends and acquaintances know what type of opportunities you are interested in and if they have recommendations within their networks to connect you with.

Hopefully the topics covered here served as helpful suggestions or social networking etiquette reminders as you explore the job market. You never know when that random connection on LinkedIn could turn into your next employer or client!

 

For a listing of open fitness jobs, check out NASMjobs.com

For more on resume writing tips, check out Resume Writing for Fitness Professionals

 

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The Author

Stacey Penney, MS, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS

Stacey Penney, MS, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS

Stacey Penney is the Content Strategist with NASM and AFAA. A 20+ year veteran of the fitness industry, she's worked with the top certification and continuing education groups. At NASM and AFAA she drives the content for American Fitness Magazine, blog and the social media platforms. Stacey received her degree in Athletic Training/PE from San Diego State University and an MS in Exercise Science from CalU, plus credentials in Health Promotion Management & Consulting (UCSD), and Instructional Technology (SDSU). Previous San Diego Fall Prevention Task Force Chair, she’s developed continuing education curriculum for fitness organizations in addition to personal training, writing, and co-coaching youth rec soccer.