Social media have revolutionized networking, recruiting, and job hunting. But this new fast track to your future can easily lead to some major networking train wrecks. Before you dive in head first, pause to consider some guidelines for safe, successful social networking.

Don’t fib. The Internet has made it easier than ever to double check someone’s resume, so don’t try to score points with any white lies. Be confident that you have what it takes to land the job you want, and let your true experience speak for itself. If you fib, it’s likely that you’ll be caught, which will absolutely damage your career.

Don’t forget that people are watching. Even with your privacy settings set to high, it’s important to be mindful of the words, photos, and links you post. Some companies who are looking into candidates will use employee networks to try to view your profile, so keep negative updates and unprofessional party picas to a minimum. It’s wise to create two social networking profiles—one for your professional life and one for your job search.

Don’t share too much information. Hackers and scammers are crafty, and it’s important not to give out too much information as you search. For example, never give out your social security number unless you are 100 percent sure of exactly who you’re giving it to, what they will do with it, and what their records security policy is.

Don’t be rude. While networking is about getting to the next step in your own career, remember that it’s also about what you can do to help others. When asking for help, be polite and don’t be overly blunt. Any social interaction requires manners and finesse, and social networking is no different.

For more great tips on how to make social networking work for you, read this career coach article from that outlines more tips on how to make the most of social media in your job hunt.

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