Fact. Our identity and virtual presence is as prominent as our physical one. Many presentable professionals who were well on their way to snagging a new role didn’t, just because of a social media post (or posts) someone on the hiring department found during the vetting process. So, before you go shrug your way into ignoring what is arguably one of the most frequently uttered pieces of career advice in the digital age, you might want to consider tidying up your social media accounts first.
Think the whole “potential employers checking your social media accounts” story is just an exasperating urban legend? Think again. As a generation that is undergoing a paradigm shift faster than a speeding bullet, we have found more ways than one to make social media as part of our social existence. We fill our social feeds with opportunity, information and validation. Which means more and more potential employers are looking at your social media just as thoroughly as your pristine resume or cover letter – wanting to learn more about you as a potential candidate to hire.
This doesn’t mean you need to change everything about who you are. Just monitor how you post, what you share and with whom you share it with. Here’s our recommendation that’ll help you project your best online self to land that dream job.
#Recommendation 1 – Ask Uncle (or Auntie) Google
For many of us, Google is simply your favourite relative who answers each and every one of your queries. When someone Googles your name, your social media pages will pop up and viewers will get to see everything that you project online. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a Google result page is worth your career. Continuously Google yourself to find out how much digital dirt you have leftover the internet and do something about it.
Tip: Always do an Incognito Search. Better still set a Google alert for your name.
#Recommendation 2 – Make Your Accounts Private
Before you post onto your personal social media accounts, be sure of what you’re sharing and who is going to see it. While privacy settings may protect your accounts from some treats, please remember that nothing will ever be truly private when you are using the internet.
Tip: Check to see if your photo albums and mobile uploads are set to public as well. Even if you’ve made your FB status only visible to friends, your profile pictures and cover photos are public by default.
#Recommendation 3 – Separate Professional from Personal
The line between our personal and professional social media accounts are often blurred. Personal content on a private Instagram account might end up on a professional Twitter page and vice versa. We recommend avoiding controversial topics, religious and political views, or personal information on professional accounts. Use this platform to engage in positive conversations and sharing career wins.
Tip: Avoid posting complaints about work or your boss, photos of you piss drunk, political and religious rants, vulgar or violent language and finally relationship or personal issues. These are highly inappropriate!
#Recommendation 4 – Keep Professional Accounts Public
Take note. Having no online presence also isn’t a good sign to potential employers, as it indicates that you’re aren’t well informed or receptive. Showing fluency in social media platform discloses how desirable you are as a potential hire. For professional social media accounts, we recommend you keep your name public so that it is easily searchable. Your LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or FB content are kept focused on what you can offer in your field and what accomplishments you want to highlight.
Tip: Less is more. Be careful about sharing too many details about your job qualifications. This may keep you from getting more opportunities to network. And remember to update your professional social media accounts as frequent as possible.
#Recommendation 5 – Clean Up and Polish Your Accounts Please
Yes, Marie Kondo that social media account of yours. Ensure they are job-search appropriate and we don’t just mean removing unsavoury photos or inappropriate statuses on FB. Look over your LinkedIn and professional profiles so that everything is up-to-date and all information is accurate. Photos included. Having a good profile photo means a chance to increase your response and also a way to build your personal brand.
Tip: To find any posts that may be a red flag to potential employers, consider using Scrubber.
While there is a delicate balance between selling yourself and being transparent in the hiring process for potential hires, social media is the added advantage to show what you can bring to the table, a way to add flair to your application and make a lasting impression on your potential employers.
Time to get cleaning!