Job hunting and interviewing are stressful enough tasks as they are, but over the past 10 years or so prospective candidates have had a new problem to deal with – how their presence on social media may be viewed by a potential new employer.
It’s inevitable that most potential new employers are going to look at how you come across on social media at some point, be it before inviting you to interview or as they deliberate offering you the job. Social media streams are now viewed as an extension of the C.V. so it’s pertinent that these show you in a positive light.
It’s a tough task to get right – showing you’re a personable person without a potential new boss seeing pictures of you drunk on a Friday night - but we’re here to guide you through it. After all, 85% of employers have said they would be less likely to hire a candidate if they came across something unfavourable on their social media profiles:
- What you write on your social media statuses and updates may portray you as a very different person as to how you’d behave during an interview. So make sure you delete any offensive or derogatory posts, especially any regarding previous employers. Think of it this way, if you don’t already have your parents following your social media accounts imagine you did – and remove anything you wouldn’t want them to see!
- Block or remove any “friends” you think might harm your job hunt. Especially those who are likely to post something unsavoury on your wall or tag you in an unfavourable picture.
- In fact, to be on the safe side ensure you have Timeline Review on Facebook switched on. This allows you to approve everything before it goes onto your profile – so even if that friend you thought knew better tags you in a slightly offensive post just as a potential new employer is looking at your page you don’t have to worry about them seeing in.
- You could even go one step further and set your entire Facebook to private, blocking potential bosses from viewing anything. But with this you run the risk of looking like you don’t have a social life, or worse still, that you have something to hide. We recommend making the majority of your profile private, but depending on what content you have on their keeping some of it as viewable by the public. For example, if you often post thought-provoking statuses or ones relevant to the industry you’re looking for a job in then keep these public. Or if you’ve got some lovely recent photos from your graduation or that three month charity trip you took to Africa then don't make these albums private.
- Facebook is the go-to social platform for employers to have a sneaky peek at you via but it’s important to ensure any other social platforms you use are suitable too:
- If you use Instagram to post a lot of selfies or body shots think about making your account private, if only until you land your next job.
- Blogs are often seen as a fantastic hobby to have on your C.V. – they show off your writing and communication skills while highlighting you have hobbies, thoughts and opinions outside of work – but if these are in any way unflattering or degrading it might be worth pulling them down.
- Twitter is often viewed as a public sphere and people don’t tend to have private profiles on here, but it is possible if you need to. However we suggest using Twitter as a platform for showcasing your opinions on the industry and for following thought-leaders – you don’t need to Tweet regularly but the occasional one in regards to industry news or the role you’re looking to pursue could help sway a potential employer’s opinion in favour of you.
- Ensure your LinkedIn is up to date with all your education, previous employment history and a short blurb about your time at each one. This will also help to save space on your C.V. Make sure you have a professional looking headshot here too – keep your selfies and bikini photos for Facebook!
- And finally, once you’ve done all this, Google yourself! This may sound like a pretty self-centred task but it will give you a real insight into what anyone else Googling you might come across or social platforms from years back you’ve forgotten to delete.
This may seem like a lot to do before you even make a start at job hunting, but trust us it will be well worth it in the long run!