When searching for a job, first impressions really do count – even digital ones.
Applying for jobs in today’s employment marketplace doesn’t just mean sending out carefully written resumes and applications. Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey showed that a whopping 93% of managers will take a look at your social media profiles as a standard part of their recruitment decision-making process.
And we’re not just talking LinkedIn here.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – they’re all fair game.
Your social media presence is all part of your personal brand that you present to employers.
But before we all panic and delete our social media accounts, remember this is also a positive opportunity. Your social media presence shows your personality in a way your resume never could. Not to mention, many bosses are looking for candidates with at least a basic amount of social media savvy. All those hours chatting on Twitter might actually pay off!
So, before you start sending out applications, take some time to give your social media an early spring clean by following these steps to build an employer-friendly social media presence. Your future (super-successful) self will thank you for it.
1. Keep it Clean
Sure, social media is a place to express yourself but also keep in mind that you’re effectively speaking in public.
Avoid – and delete – inappropriate jokes, swearing, stories about binge drinking, rants about your current boss, potentially offensive opinions… you get the picture!
2. Keep Some Things to Yourself
Decide whether you want to share all of your personal information online.
For example, while Facebook gives you the option to share your marital status, this might be something you prefer employers not know.
Same goes for your age, sexual orientation, whether or not you have children and so on. While it’s illegal for potential employers to ask or use this information as a deciding factor, some still do, at least subconsciously.
3. Update Your Employment Info
Make sure that your employment and educational history on your social media profiles matches what you have on your resume.
This means updating your profiles to include your current and recent employment. It’s worth doing so on all of your accounts to demonstrate consistency and to show how important your career is to you.
4. Review Your Privacy Settings
Get to know your privacy options and adjust your settings to suit you. You don’t necessarily need to opt for the tightest privacy settings available if you don’t want.
You’ll find options that allow you to keep some parts of your profile and posts for the eyes of friends only and even for specific friends only – which can come in handy if any potential employers of colleagues send you an unexpected friend request.
If you are pursuing certain sensitive careers, such as teaching, then your privacy settings need to be as tight as possible!
5. Be Enthusiastic About Your Industry
Social media is a great place to share your passion about what you do. Save those moans about work stress or approaching deadlines for chats with your best friends and use your online profiles to share interesting content from your industry, as well as your own professional development wins.
Posting positive comments about your team also helps boost your image as a positive team player.
6. Facebook Timeline Review – Switch It On!
If you haven’t discovered Facebook Timeline Review already, it’s going to be your new best friend. Switch it on and you have the power to review and approve anything that somebody wants to post to your timeline.
Gone are the days of embarrassing photos from the night before popping up on your timeline before you can do anything about it – phew!
And while you’re at it, go ahead and un-tag yourself from any previous photos of you that you wouldn’t want potential employers to see.
7. Connect with the Right People
Following and interacting with the top influencers in your industry is a great way of showing your enthusiasm for your work.
Being a member of professional networks and getting involved in forum chats relating to your profession is another good way of boosting your employer-friendly digital footprint – as well as building potentially useful relationships.
But what if your professional networking starts to overlap with your personal accounts? Check out Facebook’s ‘Custom’ option in your privacy settings if you would like to create a list of your professional friends and restrict the posts they can see.
8. Edit Your Bio
Spend some time editing your social media bios to present yourself in your best possible light. Showcase your skills, highlight your most interesting and relevant hobbies and aim to create a cohesive personal brand across all of your accounts.
With some social media platforms, such as Twitter, you could even consider creating a professional account to complement your job-seeking efforts. The app makes it easy to switch back and forth right on your phone.
9. Choose the Right Profile Picture
Love that profile picture where you’re dancing on the beach with a cocktail on your hand? Sorry, it’s got to go.
Choose a profile pic that is friendly and approachable but professional at the same time. You don’t have to go overboard and use a stiff, formal photo of you in your best work suit, just leave the boozy beach shots for your private photo albums.
10. Google Yourself
The easiest way of reviewing your digital footprint is to Google yourself. This is exactly what potential employers will do and it gives you a great overview of your online presence.
Still got an old idle MySpace account? Delete it.
Inappropriate photos of you showing up on a friend’s blog? Ask them to remove them.
11. Make Your English Teacher Proud
No, grammar may not be sexy – but it matters. Forget about spelling and grammar and future employers might question your ability to do the job, so give your posts a quick proofread to make sure they reflect your dazzling communication skills.
Is your social media presence helping or hurting your job search? Even if you’re not looking for a new job, now’s the time to start making sure your profiles reflect how you want to be seen professionally. Take these 11 steps to improve your presence today.
About the author:
Nicola is a social media consultant and content creator, working with SMEs such as Traveling Vineyard and Focus Clinics. She spends her days working to a tight but productive schedule in order to stave off the cabin fever induced madness of working from home.
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