Social media is a huge part of our lives and often overshare personal information that may not leave us looking as employable as we would like. Our online identities have become the first impression we offer the world, and if you’re a job seeker, it’s important to consider what that first impression might be should a prospective employer look you up online. An inappropriate image or ill-judged comment could spell the end of a fantastic job offer, so it’s crucial to utilize social media effectively and appropriately.
Cleaning up your act on social media doesn’t have to mean stripping your favorite online social space back to a boring profile devoid of all personality. You can be yourself – just be the best version of yourself.
Go on – it’s not like you’ve never done it before. Googling your own name will reveal which social media accounts are likely to pop up if others looks for you online and can be a Godsend in instances where a lapsed account is still showing up (hello MySpace). Delete any profiles you no longer use once and for all, so you can focus on optimizing the accounts you do use for job hunting.
Social media audit
Make a list of the social spaces you regularly hang out in, and take time to audit each, keeping the following in mind:
- Profile photo. Ensure it’s recent and doesn’t depict you in a compromising light. Swap party pics for friendly head-and-shoulders shots and mix up your profile photos to showcase your personality.
- Bio. You can still be yourself and showcase your personality – just ensure your bio contains nothing offensive. Include your current role and company, and only link to websites or blogs you would be happy for an employer to see.
- Posts. Delete anything you feel could be a red flag to employers, including bad language, links to inappropriate websites or images, or overly negative or angry rants. Delete anything bad-mouthing a past employer, or competitors.
- Photos. If your photo stream is little more than a homage to Friday nights at the local pub, think seriously about stripping those images out which might give a negative impression. Request friends delete any photos you wouldn’t want seen, and upload new photos that showcase your interests and personality.
- Likes. Even the pages you like, or tweeps you follow, have the potential to say a lot about you. If you’ve previously Liked ‘Getting Drunk on Thursdays’ or you followed @SexyPicsForYou, it might be time to rethink those decisions and unlike and unfollow.
Use social media to your advantage
The job market can be competitive, so cleaning up your act on social media and optimising your online profiles for job seeking might actually give you the leg up to nab your dream job. Using your profiles to showcase your personality, surprising skillsets and interests can set you apart from the crowd, while also positioning you as technologically savvy.
If a potential employer finds you online and sees your passion for their business or industry, enjoys your personality and gets a feel for your intelligence and skills, you could end up having the advantage over candidates who aren’t playing in social media spaces.