We don’t want to get all preachy – and we know how great social media can be! We love connecting with our friends and sharing our favourite memes as much as the next person. But, there’s a side to using social media that you need to be aware of, especially when you’re actively looking for work or work opportunities.
When you’re job searching, it’s important to be aware of how you’re presenting yourself – both offline and on.
Recent research indicates that 60-70% of employers look up potential candidates on social media before meeting with them. While they’re not deliberately looking for dirt, more than 50% say they usually find something that turns them off bringing you in for an interview.
With rising reports of candidates having job offers withdrawn or being fired because of something they’re shared online, it’s really important to keep your professional and personal social media separate when positioning yourself in the job market.
FIVE WAYS TO CHECK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Here are five ways to do a quick check on your online presence and make sure it’s one you’re proud of a potential employer finding:
1. Check What Information is Available
It sounds quite straightforward, but making sure you’re aware of exactly what information is available should someone look you up on social media or via a google search is important.
Privacy and accessibility settings have changed quite a lot across different social media platforms, so old posts and photos that may have been private could now be viewable.
Do a quick search of yourself on google, or ask someone you know who isn’t on your social media to check what’s viewable. Make sure what’s accessible is what you want everyone, including potential employers, to see.
2. Update Your Privacy Settings Regularly
This ties in quite nicely with the above. Make sure that old posts are limited and check the options by which people can search for you.
If you have a personal Twitter or Instagram account, have a think about whether what you’re posting is something you would want a potential employer to see. If it isn’t, make sure your accounts are set to private.
Various sites allow individuals to search for you via different contact means – your mobile or email address – check whether this is something you want against your account.
3. Use Appropriate Profile Photos
Even if all your privacy settings are in place, your profile picture is viewable to everyone (so it’s probably not a good idea to have one of you drunk in a club or doing something ambiguously legal!).
An appropriate profile picture can make all the difference – and sets a good impression from the get-go. Using the same photo across all your social media – especially if you’re advertising a professional presence helps set a standard as well. It will make you recognisable against all the relevant media you want people to see (blogs, articles, etc.).
4. Make Sure You Know Who You’re Connected With
When you’re creating a professional presence, it can be easy to get carried away connecting with anyone that requests it – but make sure everyone you’re connecting with is someone you want to have access to your profile.
Social media has made networking a lot easier; just make sure their profession matches what you’re looking for professionally. It’s about having the right connections, not just any connections.
5. Create a Professional Presence
Over time, as you build your own professional identity and a career you’re proud of, you can begin to translate this to the online world. From writing a blog to having a professional Twitter account and adding to online debates/commenting on relevant blogs – it can all start to build up a positive, professional online presence.
LinkedIn is another excellent platform for demonstrating this. Share articles, write your own, comment on others posts and follow industry leaders. This way, when an employer does check out your profile, they can see you’re active, up-to-date and passionately engaged in your chosen field.
Think about creating separate professional accounts that are open publicly to those you want to see it and keep the personal accounts private for your own use.
We’re not saying you can’t be ‘you’ online, but thinking consciously about what you say, share or post online is never going to be a bad thing! As we live increasingly digital lives, it’s important we create online spaces we all want to be a part of.
If you’re applying for work or scoping for opportunities and not being successful, it might be worth checking what people can find out about you before they pick up the phone!