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social media job hunt

After the recent news of  Greek Olympian Voula Papachristou being removed from her country’s Olympic team after posting a racial joke to Twitter surfaced last week, thoughts of how social media can make or break a career, sometimes before it starts, arose.

It seems that as much as social media has become a part of our day to day, some people still need  a reminder that any tool can be used successfully or be your downfall if misused.  We decided to highlight a few stories showcasing how social media can make or break your job hunt.

The Losers

The Cisco Fatty

Many people saw the cautionary tale of the then 22-year old job candidate Connor Riley, dubbed the “Cisco Fatty” incident, that went viral.  Like many job seekers on Twitter, Connor went to expound about her job offer from Cisco in 140 characters or less.  Connor just didn’t choose the most appropriate way to share her excitement about the opportunity.

Needless to say a Cisco employee spotted the tweet and Connor’s job offer was rescinded to say the least.  Not to mention the continued viral nature of the story, Connor’s tweet continues to live on in job search infamy.

Tumblr-d Out of a Job

We’re reported on this story before, but it’s a noteworthy one.  Kristopher Brooks, a young reporter just out of a New York University graduate journalism program, received a job offer from the News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware. He took to his Tumblr blog to announce his success in landing the position.  While most people who saw the blog post read it as an excited and overly enthusiastic Brooks announcing his new job, the News Journal had a different view.

As a news publication, they had their own protocol for company announcements and Brooks’ blog post, which took the form of a press release including using the company’s logo and a quote from his offer letter, went against their company policies. Brooks unfortunately found himself back on the job search, and you can read more about this controversial story here.

Facebook Fiascos

Of course, the number of candidates who have lost a job offer due to inappropriate posts on Facebook would be too long to list.  In fact one out of three employers admit to rejecting candidates for posts specifically on this social networking site according to a recent CareerBuilder Survey.

In this same CareerBuilder Survey, it states nearly 37% of companies use social networking sites to research job candidates (that’s 2 out of 5!)  So, if you think no one’s looking at your online presence, think again.

The Winners

When Opportunity Knocks

Chad Kluge is an avid social media user.  When he was finishing up his junior year at U of M and looking for a summer job, he was also acclimating himself with the ritual of checking in on the social media app FourSquare.  The competition of competing for the mayorship of his apartment building turned into an unsuspecting opportunity he seized to leverage himself into a job.

Turns out the friendly mayorship rivalry was with a CEO of a social media agency Chad was interested in working for.  When Chad realized his stroke of luck, he used the mayorship as a bargaining piece for a job offer.  After two interviews, he got the job.  His story just goes to show that it’s not just about using social media but being able to spot an opportunity as it presents itself and making the most of it.  Read more from Chad on landing his job via FourSquare.

Tweeting Toward Success

Ulrike Schulz had been using Twitter to find a job in London.  By utilizing her twitter account and her relationship building skills, Ulrike Schulz is now an account executive at the social media and marketing agency We Are Social (@wearesocial). She tweets at @TheLondonJob.

Ulrike’s tale which you can read more of here, is a shining example of how as a job seeker you just can’t tweet and pray, you have to make things happen for yourself and build relationships via the social network to achieve success.

The lesson learned: social media is a powerful tool very often taken for granted.  You shouldn’t live in fear of how social media may affect your job search, but you should be mindful of what you put out for the world to see–not just for your job search but in your personal life as well.  (As we’ve seen all too often in the case of too many recent political and media figures to list, as of late)

The Twitterific Ending

As Kelsey explains in her own words, her story sounds  like a cinematic, hollywood “perfect world” ending to her internship search (which she also leveraged into a job post internship.)   But, Kelsey, too, used the power of twitter to her benefit, following industry leaders she looked up to, and in the woes of her search, took action when she spotted a tweet profiling an ideal position.

And, while her story sounds a little too good to be true to some, she proposes that, it’s not a fluke, and that her scenario could be featuring you, too.  Read more on her tips for success here.

As technology has made it so easy to share every little aspect of your daily routine via these outlets, it’s time to make sure we all take a lesson from our resumes and learn how to edit appropriately, when necessary and take a some responsibility for the content we put out for the world (and future employers) to see.  Social media may sting some, but to those that learn how to use it effectively, the sky’s the limit!

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