Social media can be an asset in your job search. It can help you network with potential co-workers and research employers. But job seekers are not the only people spending time on social. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to research potential employees. In addition, 57 percent of employers found content that caused them not to hire a candidate. How do your social profiles look?
If you are job hunting, your first stop is to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. List all your positions and a few key responsibilities or successes you had while in those roles. According to LinkedIn, profiles with photos get 21x more views. If you chose to include a photo, your photo should be a headshot with eye contact and a smile. Avoid having items like sunglasses or other people in your pic.
Next up on LinkedIn, go to the upper right-hand corner and select Edit URL. Personalize your URL to be your name, removing the additional characters that is assigned to you. For example, a LinkedIn URL of www.linkedin.com/in/john-smith will make it easier for employers to find you. While you are at it, make sure your settings reflect that you are open to opportunities and recruiters contacting you. To do this, go to Account – Settings & Privacy and scroll down to “Job Seeking Preferences”.
For social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, in general it is a good idea to think before you post. For Facebook, since chances are you might have had your account for a while, check your settings of who can see what posts from both the past and present. Facebook has a handy guide with simple steps to follow to limit past posts. You can also turn off search engine indexing in your privacy settings, which helps prevent old posts from resurfacing.
For Twitter and Instagram, if you think some content may not appeal to all employers, you can make your account private. By doing this, you will have to approve all new followers on your accounts. Your current followers would not be impacted by that switch on either platform.
On any platform, if you think there are any potential red flags, you could clean your social media by deleting the post from any or all platforms. Types of posts to be aware of include:
- Negative posts about co-workers or employers
- Photos showing you partying it up from the weekend
- Posts with significantly bad grammar
- See what Business News Daily says to avoid on your profile here.
Overall, your social media profiles are your online reputation and it is your choice how to handle them. And depending on what type of position you are interested in, being active on social media might help you land the job. But with three-fourths of employers checking online profiles, you want to put your best foot forward – in person and online!