Part 1 of 3 in our series, “Social Media Savvy in Silicon Valley”

Proper grammar may be the last thing on your mind when you are reposting an article on social media or tweeting to the world about the amazing art show you just attended. After all, your friends and family probably do not pay any mind to where you place your commas or if you bothered to capitalize all the proper names in a sentence. Guess who is looking at the punctuation and grammar on your social media page? The hiring manager for that great company you are trying to land a position with. If she sees you know the difference between “affect” and “effect” she may take your careful grammar as a sign you are a good fit for their team.

Social Media Shows How Conscientious You Are

Everyone knows employers use social media for recruiting and hiring purposes. Most people understand the chance of being turned down for a job if a potential employer encounters wild party pictures or vicious complaints about your co-workers posted to social media. Surprisingly, poor grammar on LinkedIn or Facebook leaves an equally negative impression. According to a survey conducted by Jobvite, HR staff and hiring managers frequently turn down applicants based on sloppy social media communication. Poor spelling and grammar left a negative impression on employers at the same rate as comments about drinking, references to drug use, and over-sharing romantic details; they were turned off from a candidate because of poor spelling more often than they were because of profanity.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to carefully proofread each and every word you post to your social media page. Facebook, for instance, tends to facilitate more casual communication between its users, and most recruiters understand this. What they are looking for is an overall mindfulness in your communication.

Cleaning Up Your Communication Skills

The most immediate, and perhaps important, change you can make is to your professional networking pages. Employers search LinkedIn before checking sites like Facebook for screening purposes. They are also less likely to forgive your spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors on sites specifically related to your work life. LinkedIn posts should read as clearly as your resumé and cover letter. You can also take the time to make sure all permanent content on social media (profiles, bios, blog posts) are well-written.

You can relax a little more with your daily social media communication. Posting something as simple as, “I love the San Francisco Bay Area in springtime! #goldengatepark #bikeriding” makes a better impression than the same snippet with no capitalized words and three exclamation points at the end. Using proper grammar and correct spelling takes very little extra effort and tells the world, including employment recruiters, you care about the details of communication.

Demonstrating you have mastered language basics in your media posts indicates to a potential employer you are a generally conscientious person. Most lines of work require written correspondence between you and your supervisors, coworkers, and clients. Your future employer has gone to great lengths to build their reputation with clients and business partners; you need to show them you can represent their good standing with what you write. So when you think about how to use social media to get a job, remember to make all your public writing excellent.

Kinetic Search is a boutique Creative, Marketing and HR staffing agency based in the San Francisco Bay Area with offices in Palo Alto and Berkeley. Named one of the Top 25 Largest Staffing Firms in the Bay Area, we specialize in contract, full-time, and temp-to-hire staffing. Reach us at (510) 649-2000.

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Kinetic Search is a top San Francisco Bay Area boutique Creative, Marketing and HR staffing agency. Reach us at (650) 485-3025.