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Job hunters should avoid wearing their political preferences on their sleeves during this divisive election season, experts say. They may find themselves losing out on a job or a networking contact if they don't adroitly navigate this overwrought political environment.
The risk has been exacerbated by the meteoric rise of social media that have made it more difficult for job candidates to avoid the politics trap, said Michael Sakraida, founder of Jobsearchideas.com., an online community for job seekers.
Job seekers need to be aware of how polarized politics has become and what that means for them, Sakraida said. According to the Pew Research Center, political polarization among voters is at a 25-year high.
The first thing job candidates should do is clean up their online political profile, he said. Reviewing a candidate's social media presence is a common step in hiring due diligence these days. Candidates need to review and delete all of their politically charged postings on Facebook and other social media sites. Their views may upset a potential employer or job-networking contact.
"Most people are amazed by the amount of political content they have online," Sakraida said.
Political leanings — both yours and a prospective employer's — should not have a seat at the job discussion table, he said. Don't assume a potential employer's political leanings and avoid blindly stating your own.
You should keep the focus on you and the job opportunity, Sakraida said. Job candidates need to keep the spotlight of them because of the limited time and focus of the potential employer.
And once the election is over, don't let your guard down, he said.
"No matter who wins on November 6, almost half of a job seeker’s potential employers and networkers will be very upset on November 7th — tread carefully!" Sakraida said.