Remember the pictures from that wicked Halloween party last year? You know, the one where you dressed up as a sexy nurse and had fourteen beers too many? What about the status update you posted last week when you were so frustrated with your boss and the things he makes you do around the office? Or that LinkedIn profile that you haven’t bothered to complete? You might think that the information you put on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts has little or no effect on your professional life, but that is the farthest thing from the truth. According to a Vault.com survey, 44% of hiring managers search social media sights when screening candidates, and 39% said they search current employees as well! When you’ve spent so much time and effort building an impressive resume and acquiring the skills needed to excel in your field, why let your social media presence ruin your chances of landing that dream job? Following these tips will save you from letting your social media sites eliminate you as a serious candidate or worker.
- First off, it is not necessary to completely eliminate your social media presence. Often times hiring managers will search your profile just to get an idea as to the kind of person you are outside of the office. If they notice that you have no online presence at all, they might think that you have limited social skills or are unable to stay relevant in today’s social media-centered world. The safest way to build and update your social media profiles is to consider them a less formal extension of your resume.
- Make sure your professional social profiles, such as LinkedIn, are completed and updated regularly. Employers take it as a sign of laziness and lack of initiative if they find your profile and the only information you’ve contributed is your name and the job you had a Wendy’s when you were 16.
- Make sure that the pictures and information you share are appropriate. For pictures, a rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t print them out and give them to your grandma to look at, then don’t post them on your profile. Similarly, if your posts and updates are riddled with curse words and derogatory statements, employers will assume you will bring that attitude into the workplace and immediately dismiss you as a candidate.
- Avoid “friending” or “following” current employees of the organization or company you’re trying to join. While this may seem irrelevant, most people do not want to be contacted and harassed by strangers who they may or may not one day work with. Similarly, use good judgment when posting things on the company’s profile. Don’t post things that are contrary to the company’s values or views, even if you feel you are in the right. Also, don’t feel compelled to respond to every post the company makes. This will portray you as a shut-in who seldom leaves their computer.
There is nothing wrong with having a social media presence as long as it reflects your professionalism. Because so many employers search social media sites to gather information during the candidate screening process, it is essential that you carefully monitor your sites and share photos and information that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to show a potential employer in person.
Written by Katie Fidler
Investing in a Lifetime of Success,
Are you considering a career change? If so, sign up for our Job Seeker email course which provides valuable insight into how to become more competitive in the marketplace.