You’d be surprised at how much people judge someone based on their social media profile – potential employers or recruiters are no different. According to a survey by The Manifest, 90% of employers check social media to evaluate their candidates. Not only that, but 79% of hiring managers have rejected a candidate based on inappropriate content on their social channels.
Given these stats, it’s obvious that completing a social media background check on your profiles is a must in 2020 and beyond. It could be the difference between getting that interview or job, or not even receiving a callback.
Improve your job search efforts with these 10 social media tips, guaranteed to get your foot in the door!
1. Don’t: Post things you wouldn’t want your parents to see
Social media has become a rich source of information about potential hires – make sure yours makes a good first impression. As a rule of thumb, don’t post anything that could portray you in a negative light as you never know who might be scrolling through your feed at any time. Avoid profanity, negative or discriminatory comments and posts, pictures of you playing your favourite drinking game, and making insensitive jokes.
If you don’t think your parents (or grandparents) would approve of your post, then don’t take the risk! Chances are prospective employers would probably not appreciate these either. Keep your social presence and identity positive rather than controversial or provocative.
2. Do: Google your name and check what appears
Do you know what comes up when you search your name? Now might be a good time to do so since your potential employer definitely will. Chances are that you’ll find loads of information about yourself if you have an online footprint. Anything and everything can return as a search result from tweets, comments, articles, and pictures, making it easy for employers to find content which you would rather keep private.
Being aware of what shows up when your name is Googled is significantly underrated, as most people skip this important step. Change or delete any post or picture that could impact your job search negatively and aim to do so before you even start applying!
3. Don’t: Forget your social privacy settings
Although you had a good time at the club with friends last night, sharing and being tagged in those photos publicly might not be a good idea because you probably don’t want them to be seen by any potential employers.
Many might think that their posts can only be seen by their social connections, but strangers can also view pictures you are tagged in and read your posts.
Restrict your future posts to your connections only, and review your privacy settings for past posts you are tagged in. Also, ensure that you change your settings so that any post you are tagged in requires your approval before being visible on your timeline.
4. Do: Be consistent
Are your employment history and the personal details on your CV an identically match to what is found on your social media profiles? If not, this might be a red flag for a potential employer.
Reworking your job description or having different profile pictures is not too much of a setback. However, having non-identical or contrasting job titles, company names, and start and end dates can look very sketchy. Be sure to stay consistent across your social media channels because this will let the employer know that you are a trustworthy and credible candidate.
5. Don’t: Spend time online at your boss’ expense
Spending time looking at jobs, uploading your CV, talking to connections, and posting a story every 30 minutes using company resources and time could be less than favourable for your job search. Not only do you risk getting fired but posting too often during work hours might send the wrong message to potential employers. Posting too often can be interpreted as you not being a dedicated or productive employee.
Try restricting time spent on social media to your lunch hour or break. Ranting about how much you hate your job or reviewing your favourite coffee at 10am is a no-no since you should be working. Also, try to do your job search and application activities before or after work using your own resources to avoid potential conflict with your current company.
6. Do: Create an online presence
It’s important to have an online footprint when searching for a job, as it allows you to showcase your skills and yourself. You obviously want to ensure that the chances of getting the job aren’t skewed negatively because of your social media activity. However, deactivating all your social media accounts before you apply is probably not a good idea.
Since most people have social media, not having any social profiles could raise some eyebrows. Instead, review your social history and privacy setting to ensure that you put your best foot forward.
7. Don’t: Badmouth your current or previous employers
It should go without saying that posting negative comments about previous employers and co-workers is unacceptable regardless of how bad your prior experience has been. If this is something you do, potential employers are likely to think that you might speak badly about them if any disagreements were to take place at your new job.
The last thing you’d want your next employer to do is to think that you would be one of the people who congregate in the kitchen whining about someone else getting a raise or promotion.
8. Do: Showcase who you are and what you love doing
Showcasing your personality and passions outside of work is always a good thing. This gives potential employers a glimpse of who they are hiring and what they enjoy doing in their spare time.
Being selective of what you post doesn’t mean you need to erase your personality. Aim to have positive content that portrays you as the best version of yourself! After all, ‘professional’ doesn’t mean ‘boring’.
9. Do: Have great spelling and grammar
Don’t throw spelling and grammar out of the window just because you’re on social media.
Keep your use of acronyms and abbreviations to a minimum, and always proofread all posts for any grammatical or spelling errors. If you skip this step and your posts happens to be loaded with errors and slang, hiring managers may be reluctant about extending an invitation to interview.
10. Don’t: Let your guard down once you’ve been hired
So, you’ve been through the application process, and you landed the job! Although you may have your foot in the door, this does not mean that it’s time to let your professionalism fly out of the window.
You need to have your guard up now more than ever since you are no longer only representing yourself- but also your new employer’s brand. What you do on social media may or may not harm your new company’s brand, and the former could cost you your job. If using a channel like Twitter, it may be worth to add a note to say ‘All views and opinions are my own’.
Remember to always stay positive, professional, and helpful when you are on social media, not only to improve your personal brand but also that of your new company.