As social media comes to play a growing role in personal and working life, professionals need to understand how it can impact their efforts to secure a new job.
Over half of employers would research potential employees on social media before hiring, and this may impact their decsion to interview a candidate or offer a role.
So how can you make the most of social media in developing your career while avoiding any negative impact your online profile may have?
LinkedIn is widely regarded as one of the key professional social media platforms, a place for professionals to engage with others in their field, discuss topics relating to their industry and build their online reputation.
Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is fully completed and up to date, including your education and job history.
Use your profile to highlight key responsibilities and accomplishments in your career and grab the attention of an employer.
Join and contribute to groups relevant to your field.
Getting recommendations and endorsements from colleagues or previous employers can also help to make you a more attractive hire to employers by allowing them to see what others perceive your strengths to be.
“We know that a majority of hiring managers have viewed the professional social media profiles of potential employees as part of the recruitment process. Using your LinkedIn profile effectively can demonstrate your proactive approach and give you the edge over other candidates,” said Lance Maree, Director at Robert Walters.
70% of employers think Facebook should be used for personal interactions and not professional. Ensuring that your Facebook page is not accessible to anyone outside your social circle is a sensible precaution. Some key steps to making sure you’ve kept your profile private are:
Know what others can see on your page.
Stay up to date on Facebook’s privacy settings.
Make sure to keep your photographs, posts and tags hidden.
Remove your Facebook page from Google searches.
If you choose to have a public profile, make sure that you do not post anything that you would not be comfortable with your employer seeing.
In some cases, people have lost their jobs based on comments or posts they have made on Facebook. Even after you have a job, be cautious not to use Facebook to write grievances about your workplace. If there is something bothering you speak to your manager about the issue so they can help resolve it.
Unless you work in a marketing, digital or communications role, Twitter is also considered more appropriate for personal use.
“For digital marketers and communications professionals an active presence on Twitter can be a strong selling point for prospective employers. Being engaged in online discussions that relate to your field demonstrates your understanding of social media with skills that can be transferred to a marketing role,” Maree went on to say.
If you do work in a sector where having a Twitter voice can be a valuable asset, you are still able to hide who you follow and who follows you by creating private lists. This will allow employers to view what you are tweeting but no details about those connected to you.
For professionals in other fields who have a wholly personal Twitter presence, protecting your account may be important. It is possible to hide personal information from the public on the platform including your tweets, tweets you’re tagged in, people you follow, and people who follow you.
Even with a private profile, employers will be able to see details you provide about yourself in your bio area though. Keep your summary brief and appropriate – and remove any information you wouldn’t want an employer to know.
Following these steps can decrease the chance of an employer deciding whether or not you are right for the job before even interviewing you.