Social media is a great networking resource when you’re looking for a new job, your first job out of college, or an internship. I got my current job at HubSpot nearly two years ago because of connections I’d made on Twitter, so I can say with certainty that it works.
Since I’ve recently hired an intern to work with me this summer, I’ve sifted through lots of resumes and internet stalked my candidates, like every (smart) hiring manager in this day and age will do. So I’ve seen a lot of mistakes that kept people from interning at Boston’s #1 place to work for two years running. I wanted to share these with you, so you can avoid these snafus. Keep in mind that every hiring manager is looking for different things; these are just the things that I personally would take into consideration.
Here are 10 ways to hurt your job search or internship (so don’t do these things!):
1. Don’t be on LinkedIn
If you’re not on LinkedIn, you basically don’t exist. That’s clearly an exaggeration, but I’m much more likely to bring in a candidate if I can find his or her profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn provides job seekers a place to showcase their work experience and projects they’ve worked on, share their website(s), and gather recommendations. Recommendations are something that you can’t find on a resume, and I’d much rather see some glowing compliments before interviewing a candidate.
Being “just an intern” isn’t an excuse for not being on LinkedIn. You can still list your extracurricular activities, prior internships, and part-time gigs, and gather recommendations from your managers and peers.
2. Complain about prior job or internship in your blog
Most people like to find an outlet to blow off steam. No job or internship is 100% perfect. But if you’re looking for a new gig, don’t let that outlet be your blog. In today’s day and age, anything you write under your own name is findable online. And smart hiring managers will do their homework. We want to work with motivated people who will take one for the team without publicly bashing their job for all the world to see. And if you do complain about your prior internship in your personal blog, for goodness sake, don’t link to it from your resume. This happened. True story.
3. Link to your uber-personal blog on your resume
If you have the motivation to maintain a blog in addition to your job and/or schoolwork, that awesome. If it’s a professional blog, or even a personal blog about your hobby, please add it to your resume/cover letter/LinkedIn. It gives hiring managers more insight about who you are as a person, and what you might be like to work with. If your blog is an “uber-personal” blog in which you rant about life, post pictures of scantily-clad women, or stress about your latest breakup, that’s fine. Just don’t link to it from your resume/cover letter/LinkedIn, or even your Twitter bio (while you’re job searching). It’s not appropriate, and makes you seem less of a business professional.
4. Don’t maintain privacy settings on Facebook
While hiring managers will want to see what you look like on Facebook, we don’t need to see pictures of you doing keg stands with your buddies. So be careful about your privacy settings. Don’t make yourself completely invisible to search (so that your own real-life friends can actually find you), there’s no need to be that paranoid. But just make sure that you only display the photo albums and status updates you wouldn’t mind hiring managers to see publicly.
5. Post mundane details of your life on Twitter
It’s generally best-practice to stay away from mundane updates on Twitter, even if you’re not looking for a new job. You may notice a dip in followers if you consistently post about sitting on your couch, eating pizza, or watching TV. But be especially careful when you’re on the job market. Tweet smartly, and include relevant articles to your industry, informative blog posts you’ve written, and insightful comments you have about your work, classes, and culture. Just stay away from the mundane. And of course, just as you shouldn’t rant about your job on your blog, you shouldn’t rant about it on Twitter either.
6. Contradict yourself during an interview
If you’ve recently written a blog post about the “10 reasons why XYZ is bad for the ABC industry,” stick to your guns in person. If you contradict yourself during the interview by saying XYZ is brilliant, your interviewer will know that you’re just trying to appease them. A smart interviewer will have internet-stalked you before your interview, so already knows your opinion on XYZ. Disagreeing with the norm does not (necessarily) make you a complainer. It makes you someone who recognizes flaws and will strive to make a positive impact on the company in which you’re seeking a job.
7. Post TGIF-style tweets and updates
It’s absolutely ok to look forward to the weekend. Just don’t publicize the fact on Twitter. Posting “TGIF” or “can’t wait for 5pm” or “today’s going so slowww” can make you come across as an unmotivated whiner, even if it’s not true. Just be careful of public updates like this while you’re applying for a new job.
8. Post without double-checking spelling and grammar
Avoid common errors like mixing up their, they’re, and there, or you’re and your, even in social media. This will show that you’re detail-oriented and have a solid grasp of writing the English language. If you’re constantly making mistakes online, even if it’s “just” social media, it will making the hiring manager afraid of constantly needing to correct your work.
9. Abandon your social media profiles
If you don’t already have LinkedIn and Twitter profiles set up, it’s great to take the initiative to set those up. But don’t just set them up and abandon them! A blank profiles or Twitter stream is just as bad as not having one at all. If anything, it shows that you can’t finish a project that you’ve started.
10. Spend TOO much time on social media
At the opposite extreme, if you’re spending all day tweeting, that doesn’t look good either. That makes it seem like you’re not spending any time on your actual job or school work! Like anything else in life, moderation is key.