Social media is a part of everyday life, it has permeated life as we know it, changed our vernacular and impacted our world to the core of society and even law. It’s a especially a contradiction that many find difficult to reconcile when it comes to balancing personal and professional interests – your personal life may have facets or influences that may not align with your professional persona. And, while you may feel it’s snooping, an invasion of privacy or irrelevant to your hiring potential if employers check out your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles before offering you a job.
Career Builder projects that 70 percent of employers now use social media profiles before making hiring decisions and choosing who to interview.
Considering all an online profile reveals about your personal life; the impact your social footprint can make on your career is unquestionable, so take note of the tips below to clean up your social media before applying for jobs.
Pick a Social Media Strategy.
Being aware that employers will look at your social footprint and use that in their hiring decisions should be a wakeup call for any professional and job seeker to make a decision about the message you want your current or future employers to see about you. For instance, if you are engaged in a career in an ultra-conservative industry but have a more free-wheeling personal life, would that matter in your next promotion or job search? Do you care? So, it’s important to understand your industry and how they align with your actions or not and then use an aligning social media strategy.
Ensure your LinkedIn profile aligns to your Resume.
Employers may compare your resume with your LinkedIn profile to check that key career or education details haven’t been omitted, added or altered. Applicants have been dismissed for consideration out for discrepancies on CVs and LinkedIn, so be honest and accurate on your LinkedIn profile and don’t be tempted to alter the truth on applications. If your LinkedIn profile states your career aims, then make sure they match those in your CV personal profile and that the professional groups you have joined reflect those career interests too.
Pictures tell a thousand words.
Do you want your prospective employer to think you’re a mature, capable and dependable recruit? Then remove pictures or posts that have drunken images, provocative poses and references to illegal or unethical activities. Saucy selfies of you pouting in your underwear may impress your followers, but they’re unlikely to impress a manager looking for their next hire. Drunken photos could give the impression that you party heavily, and make an employer wonder if you will be at work on time Mondays and not hung over after your booze-fueled weekends.
Write like an adult.
“CU tomoz, hugz, luv u” might be fine for a quick tweet to a friend, but if a prospective employer were to check out your Twitter account, would they see a page full of “text speak” or evidence that you can spell and write proper sentences? Would they also see lots of swear words or vulgar expressions? Recruiters don’t expect perfectly written prose on your social media accounts, but they might be disappointed to see consistently crude or poorly written content. Ask yourself whether your posts and style of writing reflect a professional image; if the answer might be no, then improve the quality of your writing and remove posts that might let you down in front of your next new boss.
Show that your personal profile matches your career interests.
It’s all very well saying that you have a passion for design or a strong interest in PR, but do your social media pages prove this? At least make sure you follow on Twitter and like on Facebook relevant professional bodies, companies, news websites and blogs, and join professional LinkedIn groups, so if a potential employer looks at your profiles, they’ll be impressed by your active interest in your career.
Scan your digital and social footprint.
It is easy to forget about accounts set up years ago, which although seemed cool at the time, are now embarrassing. Look yourself up on search engines to see what an employer would find if they research you. Take steps to delete old profiles and posts that may detract from your online image. If necessary, you could even look into removing information or preventing it from showing up in Google searches.
Lock down your privacy settings.
It may be wise to consider how much of your social media profiles should be visible to the public. Some websites may have settings which allow fully visible, part visible and hidden accounts only viewable by invited followers, so it’s worth exploring the available privacy settings and deciding which would be suitable for you when job hunting. If you want to keep your online private life completely private, it may be worth choosing the least publicly visible settings.
In today’s competitive job market you need to give yourself the best chance possible to secure your next role. Remember that your online private life may not be as private as you thought, and that evaluating your social media profiles can boost your hiring potential.
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