Social Media: Help or Hindrance? (Part 1) by Retha Du Plessis

Consider this…… 15 years ago, we did not have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr. In fact, we really only started using email about 25 years ago as a communication tool in the workplace. Before then, companies and recruiters used the traditional way of screening a candidate before an interview; receiving a fax or hard copy of a resume, contacting references by phone and relying on multiple interviews to ensure the person is the right fit for the job and for the company.

Today, with affordable and easily accessible technology bursting on the scene, all of us have an extensive online footprint which can be an enormous help, but it can also put us at a disadvantage when looking for work.  Why is that you ask? Well, even though it was not an acceptable practice a few years ago, nowadays, companies are very likely to get online and do a search of their candidates, to see what they have been up to. And in some instances, this can mean the difference between being invited for an interview of being put to the bottom of the pile of resumes they need to consider.

Companies want to know that they are employing someone who is reliable, hardworking, a positive influence on others and who can be an ambassador for their company. Often people note on their social media profiles where they work, and reputationally, a company want to ensure that there is no risk to them because of something their employees may have done or said on their online profile.

So, what should I do about this, you ask? It is all about first impressions, and how you present yourself not only at the interview and your references, but also online.  Over the next four weeks, we will be exploring four practical tips you can implement now to ensure you stand out, for the right reasons.

And remember, social media can actually help you land that dream job, so it is not at all just about your privacy settings being so tight that no one can find you, but what you share, or like, or comment on can be considered as that extra bit that goes a long way to get noticed and to show an employer that you are the right fit for them.

Tip #1

Create an email address that you use solely for your job applications and communication with prospective employers – consider something like ‘’ rather than ‘’. Using your name and surname is almost always the best option - recruiters or employers can then easily identify your resume in the multitude of emails they receive daily.  

If you prefer to hold on to your personal one for a particular reason, that is okay, but spend the time to create a new email address that is reflective of a professional environment and use that for your job searches.  Remember, your email address is the first thing someone sees when you send your resume – make it work for you!

Look out for Tip #2 next week, we will talk about Facebook and Twitter. Have a great week everyone!