These days, having a social media account is almost as basic as breathing. In fact, if you don’t have at least one account, then you’re considered a bit odd, behind the times, or having something to hide.
But, if you’re in the market for a new job, your social media account becomes your second resume. It shows your true personality beyond the skills and credentials listed on your actual CV. That’s why it’s essential that you prepare and manage your social media accounts for the watchful eye of recruiters and other Human Resource personnel.
So how do you get your social media profile ready for your job search? Here are a few tips:
This will let you see what information is easily available to people who search for you. Is there any personal information like your phone number, address, email, or even your location that comes up? Are there any unflattering or improper photos of you that appear?
When doing a google search, make sure you use the incognito setting. According to Lauren McAdams, hiring manager, career consultant, and lead writer at ResumeCompanion.com. “Using a private browsing window when you search yourself is particularly important because this allows you to see unbiased results that aren’t affected by your previous searches, logged in services, or other personalization factors that Google implements. Personalized searching is useful when it comes to searching for relevant products or services, but when preparing for a job interview, you want to see through the eyes of a hiring manager and have unbiased search results.”
CHECK YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS
In case you’re already in the middle of your job search and are in the process of curating your social media accounts like Facebook, change your settings to “friends only”. This way, recruiters will not be able to see the photos of you during tequila night at the neighborhood bar or see the post of you ranting about your boss at your current job.
“Choose the content you make public carefully so that a decision maker will be able to see only what you want them to see. Be sure to edit your About Page or Profile blurbs accordingly. Remove any movies, books, or affiliated groups that might reflect poorly on you,” says Toni Birdsong, a Family Safety Evangelist for McAfee.
You can also create lists on Facebook and limit what people on those lists see, “Putting someone on the Restricted list means that you’re still friends, but that you only share your posts with them when you choose Public as the audience, or when you tag them in the post.”
HIDE OR DELETE INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT
Go through your current accounts and review your posts. Any unflattering photos on Instagram, archive them. Anything incriminating on your facebook timeline? Time to hit the “Hide” button! Think like a recruiter, and make sure that nothing offensive is publicly available. Birdsong also says, “A good rule for digital editing: When in doubt, take it out. Or, use The Granny Rule: If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see your post, then delete it.”
TAG WITH CARE
Sometimes problems may arise not from things you post yourself but from things that other people post about you. Callum Williams, a senior recruitment consultant says, “Be conscious of the things you are tagged in. Friends have a habit of tagging you in pictures and videos that you would rather not share with the world. Ask them to remove the tag or remove it yourself.”
CREATE A PERSONAL AND A PROFESSIONAL PROFILE
The easiest though time-consuming way to make sure that your work persona is not tainted by your personal profile is to create two profiles. Accept work or professional colleagues in your work profile. Keep your drinking buddies, best friends and other personal connections for the other profile. This way, any inappropriate photos, comments, and posts will be kept safe.
Melanie Pinola, a former writer for Lifewire.com said, that having two separate profiles for work and play, “Helps maintain work-life boundaries,” She said that with two accounts there can be “less fear of your colleagues or boss seeing personal details you may not want to share, so you may be more candid.”
USE YOUR REAL NAME
The last thing you want is to have what you think is a clever name, but it may turn out to be offensive to some or may create an unpleasant impression about you. Using your real name also makes it easier to search for you and for recruiters to see that you score high marks in the potential job candidate column.
CLEAN AND CURATE
Not sure what you should post or remove when trying to impress possible bosses and colleagues, here are guidelines from Toni Birdsong:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or posts
- Posts or photos that include drinking or using drugs
- Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.
- Content that complains about a previous employer or colleague
- Posts that are overly cynical, grumpy, or mean
Consider keeping or adding:
- Profile information that reflects integrity and responsibility
- Content that projects a professional image
- Content that shows a friendly, positive personality
- Content that shows you to be well-rounded, with a wide range of interests
- Content that shows you have great communication skills
USE THE SITE RIGHT
If you’re looking for a job, the best social media platforms to utilize are Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. But you have to make sure that you use and maximize each social media platform for their best uses or purposes. According to freelance writer, editor, and content strategist, Erin Greenawald, “While LinkedIn is a great place to show off your professional experience, Twitter is a great place to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.” Hannah Morgan, social media job search expert says, “Your Facebook profile can serve as a tool to emphasize your personal AND professional values and goals.”
Coming in for an interview is a great way to sell yourself to a job recruiter. But, before you even get that invitation, employers have already done their homework, reviewing your CV, and checking your social media presence. Cleaning up your social media accounts doesn’t mean pretending to be someone you’re not. It just means being careful and more mindful of your image -- the YOU that you are projecting on your profile.