Social media is a great way to express yourself and grant others insight into who you are. As a job seeker, it also provides a way for employers to find out more about you than what they’d find on your resume or application.
In fact, a majority of employers will research potential candidates online to gauge professionalism, make sure work experience lines up with a resume, and find out what the candidate represents as a person. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to avoid any social media snares in your job hunt.
Start out with a search engine.
To get the ball rolling on your social media sweep, check your online reputation with a quick internet search. This will help you get underway in locating unprofessional pictures, compromising posts, and more.
Review your photos.
Speaking of pictures, it’s best to do a thorough scrub of your social media profiles for any images that may depict you as a less-than-ideal candidate. Should you come across any undesirable images, the best thing to do in these instances is to remove it altogether or untag yourself, if possible. If you’re not quite ready to part with certain pictures, you can either move them to a secure cloud service like Google+ or Amazon Prime, or check your privacy settings to adjust who can see those images.
Utilize privacy features when available.
Most social sites have a “private” or “protected” option for users’ profiles. By using this, you can refine who sees what on your account and have more control over the personal brand you’re promoting. For example, on Facebook, you can adjust your settings to review tagged photos of yourself before they appear on your profile, while you can hide your entire profile on sites like Twitter and Instagram.
Paint your professional portrait with LinkedIn.
One of the top social media sites employers check during the hiring process is LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one. This tool was built primarily for networking and serves as a great way to paint a clear picture of who you are as a professional. If you do have an account, review your profile to make sure it aligns with your resume. Take the time to build your professional brand to make yourself a more desirable candidate.
Cover all your social media bases.
Probably the best way to make sure you’ve deep cleaned your online presence is to go through any social media sites you’ve used in recent years and review your activity. Delete or hide anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Remove any posts in which you bad-mouthed a previous employer or status updates about how much you party, in addition to instances of poor spelling and grammar. Ultimately, the goal of your social media scrub is to promote your personal brand as a professional.
Above all else, be intentional.
Whichever social media site(s) you use that are viewable by prospective employers, strive to be purposeful with your presence. Make sure your information is up to date, follow leaders in your desired industry, be consistent in maintaining your profiles, and post content relevant to your professional goals. Employers want to know that if they hire you, your connection to the company won’t be harmed by your online presence, but rather supplement it with a professional image.
How do you keep your social media presence in order? Share with us in the comments section below!
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