"I can't believe Stacy posted that picture of us!!"
November 30, 2015
It’s inevitable in today’s world-- you are going to have social media accounts, and you’re going to need a job. What if your social media accounts hurt your chance of getting a job, though? What if your potential employers look at your feeds and don’t even give you a chance? We want to help you make sure that doesn’t happen. We actually think social media can be a useful tool for you in your job hunt, you just need to know what to do and what not to do. Our experts have the advice you need!
Here are some basics to establish a safer and professional online presence.
Know your privacy settings. You don’t have to keep a completely squeaky clean feed on all of your accounts, but you do want to make sure that your settings keep your work and your weekends separate. Take a few minutes to go into your settings and look at all of the fine print. Facebook can show your profile pictures and cover photos individually or on your feed even to people who aren’t your friends, so be sure to confirm that they are set to only be seen by your friends if you are concerned about that. A private account on Twitter or Instagram is perfectly acceptable.
Use discretion. If you choose to keep your accounts public, monitor what you say, what you share, and what you are tagged in. It might be a smart idea to have to approve tags on photos before they show up on your page, just to make sure nothing catches you off guard. “Think about it is as if you were presenting a video resume to an employer, would you include the posts and pictures listed on your account? If the answer is no,” Lori from Cigna says, “then you most likely want to edit the content to create the image you would want a potential employer to see of you.”
Update your profile pictures. It’s a good idea to make sure your profile picture on all of your social media accounts is a decent one. It doesn’t need to be a professional headshot or anything fancy, but it’s probably best that it doesn’t show you with at a party or a bar, or with any questionable or less-than-professional items or other people. Just err on the side of caution, since that photo will be shown to anyone online, regardless of your privacy settings.
Check who you are following and who is following you. Often, people have no idea who is following them or even everyone they are following themselves. Spam accounts can follow you on Twitter or Instagram, and it might not reflect well on you. Periodically, scroll through your lists of followers and who you are following to make sure there isn’t anything that would be a glaring concern to any employers. There’s nothing wrong with following famous celebrities, but it would look better if you also followed people in your field, professional organizations, news channels, etc, especially if you’re trying to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and well-rounded candidate.
Now, here’s how social media can help you:
Stephanie, hiring expert at AT&T gives this helpful perspective: “A great way to think about Social Media is how it can impact your personal brand. As we speak, companies all over the globe are seeking out ways they can leverage their social properties to further their brand and reach a larger potential audience through social channels. You can do the same thing by thinking about how you are representing yourself, what message you are sending...and last but not least, how you can use your social profiles to make contact with employers. Many companies have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts for their recruiting efforts. Following those feeds and connecting with the people who are running them is another great, and sometimes untapped, resource for getting your foot in the door.”
LinkedIn is the most obvious social media network that will help you in your career. Ashley, a hiring expert at Textron Inc., gives this advice for how to use it well: “Your focus should be geared toward marketing yourself in such a way that demonstrates who are as a person in the working world. Your photo should be professional rather than a personal leisure photo. This site is great for illustrating skills, interest and experience; while also being able to professionally network with past students, professors and future colleague.
If you also have Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram… Ashley also says this: “You should focus on is making sure that all your uploaded and tagged photos/posts/tweets are appropriate. Even though these types of sites are used primarily personal reasons, it is good practice to “clean up” all photos and posts. Social media can be a great way to express yourself, just make sure you understand your audience!”
Don’t be afraid to be on social media while you’re job hunting, just be smart about it. Use it to keep on top of trends in your field, network with others, add to the conversations happening around your interests, and establish yourself as a strong and capable worker who knows how to engage in today’s tech-focused world!