There is no doubt about it – your public social media posts can have major repercussions on your viability as a job applicant and your professional future. Posting a hateful or offensive message or photo that goes “viral” could very well cost you your current job, and / or take you out of the running for future job opportunities.
Employers are Actively Looking at the Social Media Profiles of Applicants
A recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder revealed that 70 percent of employers actively investigate social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to screen candidates during the hiring process. In addition, 43 percent of employers admit to using social media to check on their current employees.
Despite what you may think, employers are not necessarily looking at social media activity to discover reasons to rule out an applicant. In fact, many employers are actually reviewing social media platforms to look for reasons to hire an applicant. For example, the aforementioned CareerBuilder survey showed that close to 60 percent of employers conduct social media screenings to look for information that supports an applicant’s qualifications for the position.
The good news is that most of the time candidates’ social media accounts are clean, and no cause for concern, but on occasion recruiters encounter offensive material that affects their willingness to move a candidate forward. The safe bet is to assume that every potential employer will look, every time.
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Tips for Ensuring Your Social Media Presence Will Not Torpedo Your Candidacy for a New Job
If you are looking for a new job, you need to ask yourself if your public social media profiles are ready for viewing by a hiring manager, recruiter, etc. Here are some tips you should incorporate when cultivating your social media presence.
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Tip No. 1
Keep Your Posts Clean
The top tip is to always be mindful of what you post. No matter the platform; whether it be a “business” site like LinkedIn, or a public site that you may associate with personal use, like Facebook or Instagram, you should post carefully and with a general audience in mind. A good rule of thumb is if you would not be comfortable sharing the post with your grandparents, you probably shouldn’t send it out for recruiters and hiring managers to find. This does not mean you cannot post casually — you just need to make sure the content is appropriate for a variety of audiences. Simply put, keep your language clean, and avoid posting nasty, divisive or offensive content.
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Tip No. 2
Cultivate and Highlight Your Brand
How you sell yourself to employers is basically no different than how a business markets to potential customers. This requires taking the time to consider how you want to come across to potential employers, and then emulate that through your public posts. Make sure to keep your brand consistent across your various profiles as well.
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Tip No. 3
Post Interesting and Engaging Content
In addition to posting about your travels, family events, or weekend shenanigans (remember, only the parts you share with your grandparents!), you can use social media to share content that will promote yourself as a thought leader in your chosen profession. If, for example, you write blogs or publish articles on a website, consider sharing that content on your public social media pages for employers to discover. These types of posts can separate you from the field, while showing knowledge on topics that are important to you and your chosen industry.
Tip No. 4
This may appear to conflict with Tip No. 3, but it actually works in a synergistic manner with strategic sharing. This tip is basically highlighting the issue with “over-sharing” and using your social media platforms to complain or display personal issues in a public setting. Your public social media feeds should not be the equivalent of an inner monologue. Occasionally sharing what your cat’s up to, or how awesome dinner was last night is fine, but avoid the temptation to take part in a passionate debate on a polarizing topic. Remember: you want your personal brand to be interesting and engaging to yourself but others, but never offensive or negative.
Tip No. 5
Do Not Misrepresent Yourself
Being dishonest or disingenuous can have serious personal and professional ramifications, even on social media. It might feel easy to misrepresent yourself when you are hiding behind a screen, but even a seemingly innocent embellishment on your LinkedIn profile, such as inventing a more impressive title at a previous job, could quickly disqualify you from consideration with a future employer.
Tip No. 6
Clean Up Your LinkedIn Page
While you can switch your Facebook and Instagram profiles to private, your LinkedIn page is designed for prospective employers, recruiters, and professional peers. Don’t simply add your education and job experience, and then call it a day – the LinkedIn platform is made for much more than that. Make sure your LinkedIn page is up to date and devoid of grammatical and spelling errors before you actively engage with your network. Your LinkedIn page is essentially your online resume, so take the time to these best practices, and make sure your profile displays all of your strengths and abilities.
Do Not “Drink and Tweet”
This one is obvious, but a list of this nature would be incomplete if we didn’t at least mention it! If you are impaired (e.g., sleep deprived, intoxicated, etc.) you should stay off all forms of social media. Why? Because in this state, you are at a much greater risk of saying something that could damage your personal or professional reputation, which could be discovered by a prospective employer.
You should aim to maintain a respectable and engaging social media presence. Recruiters and hiring managers want to know that you are well-versed in this form of communication and are adept at managing a social media profile. They want to see that you understand its potential for both good and bad. If you present yourself professionally, you are improving your chances of landing that highly coveted job.
Looking for a New Job? 4 Corner Resources is Ready to Help
If you are looking for a new job in Florida or elsewhere in the U.S., a good way to help set yourself apart in the competitive job market is by working with a respected, top-notch recruiter like 4 Corner Resources. We are an award-winning staffing and recruiting firm with experience placing candidates in law firms and a multitude of other industries across the country. Our team takes a detailed, methodical approach to placing candidates in the right position. 4 Corner Resources is ready and able to successfully place you in a job that presents a path to a successful and rewarding career.