Does Social Networking Hurt or Improve Your Job Prospects? Guardian Jobs Investigates »

LONDON, January 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –Thinking of posting your CV online via a social networking site in an attempt to boost your career opportunities? Before you do, advise Guardian Jobs, consider the case of John Flexman. A former HR executive, who highlighted that he was open to job offers on a professional networking site and was subsequently summoned to a disciplinary hearing by his employer of the time.

Flexman, 34, had uploaded his CV to professional networking website LinkedIn; innocuously registering an interest in receiving information regarding further ‘career opportunities’. However whilst on holiday in America, he was contacted by his employers, RG group, claiming he had breached new company policy regarding the use of social media.

Flexman’s attempt to now sue the oil-exploration firm for constructive dismissal has been adjourned until May by an employment tribunal.

His extraordinary case, a first in the UK, sheds further light on the issue of employers using social networking websites to observe employee behaviour. However it seems you don’t have to be employed to be under the watchful eye of your employer. Similarly, those now looking for employment face the same sort of scrutiny.

According to Guardian Jobs, an increasing number of prospective employers and recruiters now use social networking websites to check a potential candidate’s qualities and credentials.

A recent survey carried out by social media monitoring service Reppler found that more than 90% of recruiters and potential employers use or have used social networking websites as part of their employment screening process. The study also found that a whopping 69% of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on the content found on the social networking profiles.

Facebook seems to be the first port-of-call, with 76% of recruiters and prospective employers using the website to screen potential candidates.

This survey comes weeks after YouGov, an internet-based market research firm, published results showing four out of 10 students were worried that their personal details, publicised on social networking websites, could blight their chances of finding future employment.

Seemingly job seekers are unaware of the importance of checking privacy settings on social media websites; naïve to the fact that details of how they socialise and behave in general could be seen by potential employers. With this in mind, Guardian Jobs- via their official Guardian Jobs Facebook page- are now advising job seekers to create ‘job specific’ e-mail and Twitter accounts; the details of which could be included on their personal CVs, and to watch their privacy settings.

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