A recent study found that 70% of hiring managers regularly use social media to ‘screen’ candidates. So there’s a good chance someone will be looking at your Facebook page when you apply for a job.
We’ll share some social media tips for job seekers at the end of this article, but first here’s some general advice.
5 ways you can manage your digital profile as a job seeker
- Google yourself. An employer will probably Google you, so it’s useful to check what they’ll see when they do. Look through the first few pages of search results - is there anything about you and is it positive and professional? If you see anything from your social media or any comments you have made that doesn’t make you look good, take it down or try to make sure it is removed.
- Double check your privacy settings. On social media such as Facebook, privacy settings allow you to control who can see your posts. Most people limit their posts to ‘friends only’, so their content and images are not available to everyone including new employers. Social media privacy settings change often, so you should keep on top of these changes.
- Keep things up to date. Older software is more vulnerable to attack by viruses, which are often designed to ‘mine’ your digital profile. Make sure your phone and computer software are all up to date.
- Take password security seriously. We all know someone who thinks ‘password123’ is a suitable password (!) but online security is a serious matter. Creating strong, unique passwords is absolutely essential to protecting your digital profile. Avoid obvious combinations like birthdays and names of children, spouses and pets.
- Build your reputation online. You don’t have to be afraid of social media when looking for work. Used in the right way, it is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to an employer before you meet them. You can create a positive and professional reputation by being careful about what you post on social media. For example, posting and sharing ‘clean’ and relevant photos and posts, making positive comments on others’ social media and un-tagging yourself from questionable social posts or images. (We’ve all seen photos of friends who look a little worse for wear after a few drinks, but it’s not a good idea to let an employer see them).
Social media tips for job seekers
Employers are very likely to ‘check you out’ on social media. Here are some simple tips to help you manage your digital profile during your job search.
- Review all of your social media profiles before you start applying for jobs.
- Remove inappropriate or questionable photos and posts (this includes negative comments about previous employers or workplaces, over-the-top medical information, controversial political views and risque photos of you).
- Share photos of your interests and hobbies. We all have interests outside of work and social media is a great way to showcase these.
- Share useful and interesting content from others.
- Think of social media as an opportunity to show who you are and stand out from the crowd.
- If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a professional version of Facebook and a valuable networking tool. Your profile should be a short, less detailed version of your CV, including a professional-style photo.
- Create a fake or misleading online identity. It’s important to show the real you!
- Allow anything on your social media profiles that is unprofessional or unethical (watch out for swearing, angry posts that accuse people of something bad and posts with incorrect spelling).
- Make every post just a selfie of you.