You've heard for years that it's important to clean up your social media presence before you start your job search. Unfortunately, you might not be sure exactly what that means--or even why it's all that important.
Depending on your field and your future employer, cleaning up your social media presence may be a critical part of ensuring that you get the kind of job you want, rather than being stuck at the bottom of the ladder.
What Do Employers Look for?
When they check your social media pages, what are potential employers really expecting to see? To some extent, it may depend on your field. For example, if you're in a highly creative field, your employer might be looking to see what you've published. Do you have eloquent posts? Are your regular images the quality they expect, based on your portfolio and your experience, or do you appear to be misleading them? The right image is critical for those individuals.
Employers also want to know that potential employees will fit in within the existing company culture. They want to know that you are the person you've portrayed yourself as throughout the interview process and that you're the type of person who will fit well with the company. In addition, they're hoping for candidates who have what it takes to fit in with the existing candidate pool--and those may be things that you can't predict from your social media posts.
What to Fix
Whether you're shooting for a quick fix before you send out your resume or you have time for a longer, more in-depth social media purge, it's important to be sure that you're taking care of the right issues. Locking down your privacy settings is great, but it might not be enough to erase evidence that a savvy hiring manager will be able to find.
Update your LinkedIn profile
If you're applying for a professional position, make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects you as you are now. Write a new post, make sure your job qualifications are updated, and be certain that any new job experience, publication, or certification is clearly listed.
Be aware of what you've mentioned regarding your qualifications
Your social media presence can help provide evidence that you are as qualified as you claimed, but it can also be the source that "outs" any lies you told in the process.
Check your Twitter posts
Twitter posts are very public--and if you've created a poor impression of yourself, now is the time to do some deleting. Avoiding hot topics like guns, sex, and drugs is a great way to create a better impression of yourself.
Pay attention to public posts on Facebook
That's not just your posts, either--it's also public posts that you've commented on. Locking down your privacy settings won't keep those items from being visible. If you've been belligerent or acted as a "keyboard warrior" a few times too many, take the time to erase those posts and comments.
Take out the profanity
No, it's not "cool" to use bad language--especially not when potential hiring managers will be reading your posts. Clean it up, clean it out, and avoid posting that type of content in the future.
Check your time stamps
Do you have a habit of posting excessively in what should be the middle of your work day? That might be a red flag for potential employers. You should also pay attention to what you've posted about your current job, from how much you hate it to potential trade secrets.
Cleaning up your social media profiles before a job search is just good practice. By looking through your posts, you can ensure that the opinion a potential employer has of you is a more positive one--and that you haven't lost a job due to your social media activity.
Need more help moving into the job you've always wanted? Contact us today to learn how Brannon Professionals can help.