Did you know that employers check out the social media accounts of job candidates before they hire? And more than half decide not to hire someone because of something they saw!1 If that’s not a good enough reason to clean up your social media presence, we don’t know what is. After all, you’ve done a ton of work and dedicated a lot of time in pursuit of a better career and a better life. Do you really want to give up your shot because of one bad decision that was captured in cyberspace and stuck in the cloud forever?
Don’t worry. There are ways to fix things before you go out on the job search. These 5 tips will help you clean up your profiles and remind you how to avoid social media mistakes that could prevent you from landing the job of your dreams.
1. Don’t Hit Delete
It sounds like the easiest thing in the world. Just pull down all your accounts that might contain questionable content. After all, if employers can’t find your online presence, they can’t find anything bad. Right? Nope. Actually, you’re probably still out there. But more importantly, you probably want to be. No social media presence may send up a red flag to some potential employers—as in what are you trying to hide?
2. Choose the Right Privacy Settings
So instead of hitting delete, up your privacy settings so only people you actually know and trust get to see what you post. All the social media platforms make it easy to adjust your privacy settings. For example, on Facebook, you’ll go to Privacy Settings and Tools. There you can decide with whom to share what. You can choose who sees your future posts. You can also check out posts where you’ve been tagged. You can even look back in time and change the audiences on posts you’ve already shared. And when you make new posts, you can select who’s going to see those. Choose wisely.
3. Google Yourself
Really, this is the first step you’ll want to take. That’s because it’s likely the first step a social media sleuth in that new company you want to work for will take. A hiring manager or someone who works for them is going to find out what’s out there on you. You need to know first! Especially if you have an uncommon name, you won’t be able to hide much. Be proactive. If something shows up that is inaccurate or unflattering, do your best to take it down. If you can’t, you’ll at least want a ready explanation. On the other hand, did you know that one of the first social media channels that shows up in a Google search is LinkedIn. You don’t have a LinkedIn account? You should!
4. Build a Professional LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is an important tool if you’re looking for a new job. And not just because it’s likely to show up first in a Google search. It’s the go-to site for many employers looking to hire. It’s a great place to network and learn about job postings and you can get active on industry sites even before you’re working there. But make sure that you optimize your profile. What does that mean? Just pay attention to what the site tells you to do. Start with your LinkedIn headline. That tells employers what you do professionally. Even if you’re currently unemployed you can give yourself a title that fits. Are you looking for a Medical Assistant job? If you have the right credentials, this could be your headline: Medical Assistant in Greater Lansing.
As you build your profile, make sure to conform to the rules of the game: First name: 20 characters; last name: 40 characters; headline: 120 characters; summary: 2000 characters. Don’t worry, the site will help you with step-by-step instructions. And don’t forget your picture. Profiles with pictures get up to 21X more views than those without.2 But be professional. You only get one chance to make that first impression and for many people it happens on social media. Make yours a good one.
5. Make Good Choices
Now that you have an idea of how much of an influence social media might have on your job prospects, it’s important to pay attention to what you post. Every time you have the urge to hit share, ask yourself: would my future boss think this was okay? If your answer is no, stop—before it’s too late.
Does your social media presence measure up? At Career Quest Learning Centers, we don’t just train our students for a great career, we give them tools to get there. That includes help from Career Services. Our team of experts can give you advice on searching for a job, preparing for an interview, and cleaning up your social media to improve the chances you’ll get hired. Check out all our programs in Business, Child Care Assistance, Healthcare, HVAC-R, and Information Technology.