Making a perfectly tailored resume and landing an interview are not the only two things you need to prepare for when you are applying for a job. While your work history, education, first impression, and communications skills say a lot about who you are and what you’ve done so does your online presence. Social media profiles may say even more about you.
It’s very likely that your future employer will check you out on social media. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey, 70% of companies use social media screening during the hiring process. 57% have rejected applicants because of what they found. However, it’s not just the social media sites that they are screening, 66 % of employers say they use search engines to conduct their research on potential job candidates too.
I can vouch for this. I work for a Fortune 500 Company, and I consistently track down the digital footprints of potential candidates. As a manager, I don’t have to rely on just a resume and interview to see if an applicant will be a good fit with the company. On a few occasions, I have passed on a person because of the red flags they’ve had on their social media profiles. I’ve also given applicants the option to explain a specific photo or situation to help me better understand something before deciding to offer employment.
Scrubbing Your Social Media Profiles
I recommend you clean up your social media profiles before you submit that resume and put together the perfect interview outfit. You don’t want anything to hinder your job prospects.
Here are my top 5 tips for cleaning up your social media profiles.
1. Make Your Social Media Profiles Private
If an employer can’t see it, they can’t judge you. Set all your profiles to private. Only allow your friends to see what you post. If you want your accounts to be public, I recommend changing the settings to private until your profile is cleaned up and ready for future employers to see. Even if your account is private, ensure your profile photo is appropriate because everyone can view that.
2. Photos On Our Social Media Profiles Can Be Very Subjective
A photo can be very misleading. Sometimes when a photo is out of context it can be confusing and covey misinformation. A picture can alter what an employer will think of you. It’s important to remember that how you present yourself online is basically how you brand your image. Your potential employer wants to hire a responsible adult, someone who is reliable and will show up to work on time. They want a person who can represent their company well.
When deciding what to keep and what to delete, keep in mind what kind of message you want to convey to a potential employer. Make sure your photos represent your public image as a seasoned professional and that you have chosen images that wouldn’t embarrass you.
3. Be Mindful Of Your Social Media Content
There are two areas of content I want you to clean up. First, your posts, and second, your bio.
I know that wild vacation to Vegas with all your friends was a blast, but your drunk faces may not give off the impression you want. Party life isn’t what an employer wants to see. Don’t show photos where you are intoxicated or using substances of any kind. Same for sexy photos these can potentially hurt you. Strong political views and off-color jokes should be removed. It’s okay to support a candidate and have a sense of humor but keep it in moderation. Go through your old comments. Remove any that are unfavorable. The goal is to appear more professional and mature.
Deleting posts and comments can be time-consuming and each platform has its own ways to remove them. However, it’s worth your time to go back through old content and make sure there’s nothing that might pop up. This is not the time to get lazy.
Check your bio or about page. You want them to be positive and best represent who you are and what you do. You can include your real name and educational background, especially if you have LinkedIn. Try and have your bio content consistent amongst all profiles. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you should also be sure to include an enticing headline and a summary of your education, skills, and experience.
4. Delete Unused Social Media Profiles
If you have multiple profiles or there are some you don’t use anymore delete them. This may seem extreme but if you haven’t logged into an account in a few months, you should delete it.
5. Search Yourself
There could be a lot out there about you that you’re not aware of. Family, friends, and colleagues occasionally share things without you knowing. Google yourself. You may find you pop up on websites you didn’t even know about. If you can find yourself in a search so can a possible employer.
If you find something detrimental to your reputation, try and get it removed. Once you clean up your social media presence, ensure all future posts represent you well. Every photo, post, and comment should strengthen your image not hurt it.