Job hunters should take time to improve their online presence
You may have heard tales of people who lost out on the dream job because of an embarrassing picture posted on Facebook ten years ago. Or a person who got fired for something incriminating they wrote in a post many years ago. If you are in the job market now, how can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? How can you make social media work to your advantage—not to your disadvantage?
Here are some things you can do when it comes to social media and job searching:
Take full advantage of LinkedIn
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If you don’t, now’s the time to create one. Use these tips for creating a strong LinkedIn profile that can help you in your job search.
- Make sure you have a professional-looking photo
- Fill out your profile as completely as possible
- Sign up for automatic job alert emails
- Make sure you have at least 50 connections
- Ask a colleague or two to write a recommendation for you (and you do the same for them)
- Follow companies that are leaders in your career field
- Join groups related to your career path
Review your privacy settings and filters
Social media sites like Facebook will change their automatic settings from time to time, so it’s important to check your own privacy settings and filters to make sure you have them set the way you want them. But remember, nothing is ever truly private. It’s better not to post the embarrassing photos in the first place!
Clean up and untag embarrassing photos
Go through your account histories of all your social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Snapchat, YouTube, personal blogs, you name it) and look for photos that you would not want a potential employer to see. Here’s some advice:
- Take down inappropriate videos and pictures
- Tell your friends you are job hunting, and ask them to delete any bad photos of you
- Delete any posts where you have said controversial things, especially anything that could be considered rude, tasteless, intolerant, immature, or insensitive
- Unfriend people who post inappropriate material
- Make sure your user names or handles are not offensive in any way
Use social media to show employers you are involved
If you are worried about how your social media may look to an employer, you may be tempted simply to take down all of your accounts. But this is a mistake. If an employer can’t find any record of you online, they may think you’re living in the dark ages. It’s best to be active on a few social media accounts so that the employer knows you’re connected and involved in your life and your career field. Here are some tips on good social media etiquette:
- Keep separate accounts for career vs personal posts
- Don’t be too self-centered or too self-promoting
- Stay out of arguments
- Avoid sharing too much about your personal life
- Don’t post negative posts about other people, and especially not about any past employers
- Use the same manners and etiquette you would in real life
With these tips, we hope that you are able to harness the power of social media and make it work for you when you are applying for a job. Curating your online presence carefully can help avoid the mistakes that have cost others their jobs, and show to potential employers that you are responsible, mature, and ready for the job!
The Salter School provides career-focused training programs at two campuses in Fall River and Malden, Massachusetts. If you are ready to start a new career path, contact us for more information about getting started with us.