Social media provides an outlet for all of us, and connects us to a vast network of possibilities.  As Glassdoor and similar services provide job seekers insights into corporate hiring tactics, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter provide hiring managers insights into you.

Social media platforms have forever changed the methods employers hire, retain, and fire employees.  Human resources can simply do a search to confirm the hire-ability of any potential candidate.  Managers can follow their employees to track productivity, overall employment satisfaction and depending on the verbose nature of said employee see how their management skills rate.

Glassdoor, Vault and similar sources that are relatively new to the hiring scene now allow users to review hiring practices, interviewing processes, workplace culture and salary for thousands of employers.  Sites like these provide ratings and reviews for job seekers, and also provide an opportunity to allow organizations to measure and compare their level of “likeability” to their competitors.

Employers review your LinkedIn profile for clues to how you might fit into their culture. A LinkedIn resume is difficult to over-embellish because each member’s network serves as a check and balance.  References are easily accessible and do not need contact information provided. Subject matter expertise must be displayed by providing updated engagement in discussion boards, groups and status updates.  Group memberships, associations and organizational communities as a whole provide direct insight into how well a candidate will play with others.

LinkedIn provides the professional picture of what a potential employee would be like to work with, but Facebook provides the true test.  Profile pictures, status updates and death by association are far worse than a poorly written resume.  Twitter acts as the permanently attached microphone of 140 characters or less.  This platform provides a stage for all to see and re-tweet, no matter the relevance or political correctness.

Here are five tips to reduce the impact social media has on your search:

Decide if having a personal account and a professional account are in your best interest.
For example if you tend to be the overly vocal politico, utilize the personal Facebook account to post your thoughts on the campaign, and the professional account to congratulate Mary from accounting on her promotion.
Measure yourself against the competition.
 LinkedIn pages provide excellent information on career tracks, association involvement and project completion.  Profiles also can provide great insight for updating career paths, and see how skill sets can transition across careers.
If you must utilize social media, know what to post and where to post it.
Items that relate to your career in a professional and resourceful matter should be posted on LinkedIn.  Personal information, as well as pictures of your dog should be limited to Facebook.
Display your expertise in a professional manner.
 If you are a ‘know it all’ help people out on LinkedIn discussion boards.  Do not be the ‘one-upper’ on Facebook; no one likes a bragger, even if your Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe far exceeds theirs.
Tone it down, no matter the platform.
 Tweeting several times a day is perfectly normal, posting to Facebook at least one a day is about average, but not if you are a working professional.  If social media is not an aspect of your job description, it shouldn’t be a part of your daily to do list at work.  Employers know when employees are and are not working. Don’t make it any more apparent by providing actual evidence for not completing that report on time due to your 15 posts on kittens.

Social media provides excellent access between employers and employees, as well as potential employees.  This connection should not be abused or used out of context, and if used correctly can quickly lead to a future promotion or new career.