Can you leave social media entirely, or will your career suffer?

After a particularly vigorous day of questionable presidential tweets, endless security leaks or random online vitriol, it can be tempting to want to quit social media entirely. It might not be the best career move though.

“Social media has become an integral part of the job search process. So much so, that it would be difficult to leave it entirely and not see a negative impact on your career,” said Jessica Hernandez President of Great Resumes Fast an executive resume writing service.

You might seem out of touch

“Social media is so much more than updating your Facebook profile photo – it’s a source of news, a way to connect with your network, platforms for learning and so much more,” said Chelsey Puza, Marketing & Social Media Manager at talent acquisition firm WinterWyman. “Ditching social media entirely is great for a weekend (or longer), but if you’re in a career where the people around you are using it – you may seem a bit out of touch if you leave it entirely.”

Social media solution: Take as many social media breaks as needed, but if your co-workers or dream career revolves around social media, you should probably stick around for a while.

You’ll probably miss out

Hernandez said one of the main reasons to stay on social media is because “there are many opportunities you would miss out on simply by not having a presence or seeing what’s available that only ends up posted on social media.” Puza added: “You can certainly miss potential opportunities from staying off of social media. Companies and recruiters alike are constantly posting their jobs on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc., and their employees are doing the same. Referrals via social media are a great way to attract top talent –it worked for me – I actually found my current role through a tweet from a friend!”

Social media solution: Cut down on some of your groups and limit your activity to things that allow you to network in a way that feels productive but not draining. “I think you can certainly have a low social media presence but for most jobs do not recommend a complete removal,” said John Crossman, CCIM, CRX, CEO of Crossman & Company. His advice is to leave social media, except for career-centric LinkedIn. “It is low maintenance and your career can still be visible.”

You might seem sketchy

Hernandez said from the employer’s point of view, “It sends up a red flag when I’m trying to research a potential candidate and they have absolutely no digital footprint; no LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, or professional website that I can go to and learn more about them.” She adds “You find yourself asking “what are they trying to hide or what are they hiding from?” It automatically makes the employer question the candidate.”

Social media solution: Consider keeping a very professional website active with your recent career highlights or relevant information. Add updates or blog posts from time to time so anyone searching for you finds an active, if not obsessive presence. Or keep your social media account private so that it exists but can only be accessed by a trusted few.

Help them find you

One last thing, in case you think recruiters and HR teams exclusively use one social media platform, that’s no longer the case. “Recruiters and employers are using social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and even Instagram to locate candidates for open positions and to research the backgrounds of those they’re considering interviewing or hiring,” said Hernandez. She’s also “frequently informed by employers and recruiters that they use LinkedIn specifically to find out more about a candidate than what is just on their resume.”

Social media solution: If you’re struggling to manage more than one social media account, consider keeping one as your career hub and another as your career enhancement. For instance, if you are hoping to highlight your design skills, consider keeping LinkedIn to update and highlight your achievements and Pinterest or Instagram to highlight your portfolio.