Is Your Social Media Ready for the Job Search?
There are numerous details to consider as you embark on a job search, including your resume, cover letter, and interview preparation. However, there’s one thing many job applicants forget: checking their social media. Even if you meet all the hiring criteria, when your social media profiles paint you as less than desirable, you can quickly find yourself out of the race.
Your social media presence can help you land a job or keep you from getting one. How do you make sure it’s the former?
Why are clean social media profiles so important for job seekers?
Over half of employers check applicants’ social media to get a better idea of who they might be hiring, so make sure your social media enhances your chances of getting the job (or at least doesn’t hurt them).
Hiring managers look up candidates on social media to see how they interact online since this can reveal a lot about someone’s personality and the way they might behave on the job. Is your social media filled with posts that demonstrate professional growth and ambition, or is it crammed with embarrassing pictures and controversial hot takes? Even worse, is it overflowing with angry, mean-spirited comments?
When you apply for a job, it’s almost inevitable that the hiring manager will look you up online, so it’s essential to clean up your social media, blog(s), and other sites linked to you. Let’s look at how you can put your virtual houses in order.
How do I clean up my social media profiles?
We’ll only cover the most popular social media platforms here, but you should clean up any social media account you have if you want a pleasing social media presence. Try googling yourself—use incognito mode or private browsing to ensure your search history doesn’t influence the results—and see what profiles connected to you pop up.
Instagram revolves primarily around photos, so scrub any pictures you may not want hiring managers to see. Go so far as to check who you follow since even that could affect your chances of getting the job. That might sound crazy, but these days, recruiters are extremely serious about the social connections and associations of new employees.
Also, go to your settings and check your profile status. Is it set to public or private? If you don’t want any potential employers snooping around, mark your profile as private—they won’t be able to see anything without sending you a follow request. Don’t worry; this isn’t a red flag for recruiters—tons of social media users set their profiles to private to prevent creeps from seeing their personal information.
Facebook can reveal a wealth of information about users, depending, of course, on how they utilize the platform. Browse through your posts, photos, and comments, and in case you see anything potentially objectionable, delete it. If a friend has tagged you in a picture you’d rather a hiring manager not see, remove the tag. Additionally, you can do a privacy check-up to set how much of your profile people can view without being your friend.
Don’t neglect to check your Facebook activity since that can also paint a picture of you. If there’s anything you don’t want a future employer to see, delete it! Conveniently, Facebook allows you to change the privacy settings for individual posts, so you can easily curate the content in your profile to make public posts that would leave a favorable impression on a recruiter while hiding embarrassing or potentially compromising ones.
Twitter is infamous for bringing out the worst in people, with the strict character limit depriving any conversation of nuance. Go through your profile and check your tweets and retweets—is there anything that could jeopardize your future employment? Are you getting into silly squabbles with strangers, posting rude comments, or airing controversial thoughts?
You can also change your privacy settings by going to the settings page and clicking “Protect My Tweets.” This allows only followers to see your tweets, and anyone who wants to follow has to send you a request.
LinkedIn is different in that it’s not a “just for fun” social media destination—it’s a powerful platform that allows professionals to connect and build mutually beneficial relationships. These days, it’s practically a must for any job seeker to maintain a LinkedIn page. Hiring managers check the site to verify how qualified candidates are for a position, so be sure to create a solid profile to impress them and keep it updated so you can continue to make valuable connections in your industry. Not sure how to put together a strong LinkedIn profile? Get expert help!
How do I clean up my blog and other sites?
Your online presence may extend beyond social media. If you have a personal blog or a presence on other online sites, such as job boards, check those as well. Here’s how you can approach that.
Running a successful blog about a profession, a hobby, or a topic you’re passionate about is impressive. Recruiters enjoy seeing candidates communicate their passion in a way that inspires readers.
However, your blog could also be an issue when you’re looking for a job. If you share your views on different topics, make sure the content is acceptable to a hiring manager. In the event that your blog centers on controversial topics, you may want to rethink your blogging career. If you’re condescending in your posts, delete them. Even if you think nobody reads them, the hiring manager might be the one person who does.
Luckily, since it’s your blog, you can easily edit your posts to make them more recruiter-friendly. Need help rewriting blog posts to make them suitable for a future employer? Get assistance from our experts.
During your job search, you may have posted your resume and information on numerous job boards. If you have, go through them and delete or update your resume. Anything outdated or incorrect could raise a red flag to a hiring manager.
How do I double-check my social media presence?
Have you taken care of all the embarrassing social media posts and pictures you uploaded in the past? You definitely don’t want anything to slip through the cracks. So, how can you make sure your online persona is ready for the job search?
Start by googling yourself. This will help you double-check that the information about you online is positive and professional. You may also find that you have a larger online presence than you realized. If anything has slipped through the cracks, this is your chance to handle it.
If you google yourself right after changing your privacy settings, removing controversial posts, or even deleting certain profiles, you may be surprised to see that they still pop up in the results. It can take several weeks for outdated search results to disappear from the rankings, so you should clean up your social media profiles plenty of time in advance. If you don’t want Google displaying certain search results, you can contact the company and have them removed, but this can still take some time.
In the past, job seekers didn’t have to worry about social media, but now, it encapsulates everything about us. Landing a job these days is about more than handing in a stellar resume and beaming with confidence at the interview—it’s also about maintaining a positive social media presence.