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Using Social Media in your job search

CAUTION: Information posted on the internet can often be viewed by hiring managers regardless of your privacy settings.

In “How Social Media Can Help (Or Hurt) You In Your Job Search,” Jacquelyn Smith writes that “job seekers shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content; they should work on building strong social networks and creating online profiles that do a really good job of representing their skills and experience in the workplace.” (, 4/16/2013) Read the full article here, for insight into creating your personal brand.

In “10 Reasons Job Seekers Should Embrace Social Media,” Hannah Morgan discusses ways to enhance your qualifications for a job using social media. (US News and World Report, 9/10/2014)

Read “Tips for Getting Hired by Your Dream Company,” where Alison Doyle advised job seekers to follow the employer’s social media networks to get a better understanding of what is going on at the company they are looking to work for. (, 4/21/16)


Founded in 2003, LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. With more than 300 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. The company has a diversified business model with revenue coming from Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions and Premium Subscriptions products. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices across the globe.

Join the School of Business Alumni LinkedIn Group at:

Read “LinkedIn for Managers and Job Seekers,” by Professor Robert Nadeau at Plymouth State University, and posted to their Enterprise Center blog by Kim Beardwood Smith on Apr 28, 2014.


Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

Follow the School of Business Facebook page:

Read “Facebook use by job-seekers,” by Moira Burke, Data Scientist at Facebook on March 14, 2013.



Founded in 2006, Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets” along with videos, images, links and more. With more than 500 million users worldwide, Twitter is rapidly becoming an effective tool for professional marketing and recruiting.

View Twitter’s Business News Stream here:

Read “10 Twitter Accounts Every Job Seeker Should Follow,” by Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily Assistant Editor December 29, 2014.


Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app. The service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012 and over 300 million as of December 2014.

Learn about Instagram for Business here, and view the video: “Inspire People Visually With Your Business’ Story.”

Can Social Media be used by prospective employers as part of a background check?

Picture this: you have made it to the interview stage and this opportunity seems promising for your future. You feel the interview is going well, when the HR representative asks you to login to your Facebook account or directly asks you for your Facebook password.

Now what do you do? There are some cases wherein this type of inquiry could be considered necessary; for example law enforcement. In this case, it would be easy for the employer to defend their request to access private data as it pertains directly to the candidate’s qualification to perform the job.

Using Facebook’s new Timeline feature, employers who review would-be employees’ Facebook accounts will have access to information from their remote pasts, as well as from the present. Facebook’s official statement is that “If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends,” Yet Facebook’s privacy policy as of yet is unenforceable.

In May 2011, a ruling by the FTC states that companies can use social media information as part of a background check, but that this information must be available from public databases. In other words, strictly speaking, it could be illegal for companies to use private social media information against you without your consent.

In response to this new employer practice, two U.S. Senators have asked the Justice Department and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate whether such practices violate federal law. Moreover, some state legislators are introducing bills focused on doing the same with respect to state law. Employers who use a would-be employee’s user ID to log onto Facebook may not only be courting a discrimination suit, but also violating federal statutes relating to unauthorized access to computers and electronically-stored information. If you live in or are applying for a job in Illinois and or Maryland, such legislation already exists.

Applicants do have the right to refuse, but prospective employers may wonder what you are hiding. In addition, a ruling is all well and good, but you are in an interview situation and is quoting the FTC ruling really your best recourse?

The best way to handle this situation is to approach this request similarly to the way you would respond to any illegal interview question (i.e. religion, sexual orientation, marital status, race, physical or mental disabilities, etc.). Here are a few options:

  • Provide the answer and move on. Understand that information you give in an interview can be considered by the employer when determining your fit for the position
  • Ignore the question and refer them to your LinkedIn profile site instead
  • You can simply reply that you prefer not to answer the question stating the relevance to the position offered

Remember, you are interviewing the employer as well. Your goal is to determine whether or not you see yourself fitting into their organizational culture and to determine the potential for your future success. Thus, if an employer asks you for your password to any social media site, including Facebook, you have to ask yourself one question – am I comfortable working for an organization would ask for such information?