Social media platforms are an employer’s best tool for finding new candidates. It’s also a fun way to connect with others, share your thoughts, and even toss around the occasional cat picture or meme now and again. The problem is that around one-fifth of all employers use social media to screen prospective candidates – and that might result in an off-color joke you made in 2016 costing you a real-world job. We’ll tell you why it’s an issue and how you can avoid it in the article below.
Your online profile may say more about yourself than you want it to. Employers look at everything from what you post to how you post it when they’re trying to determine if you’re a good fit for the job. They may also make assumptions about your personality based on posts that don’t really represent you well – and you may not even be aware it’s happening. Here’s how to tweak your social media accounts in your favor before your next job application.
Your Social Media Account Could Cost You Your Job; Here’s Why!
What Does Your Profile Say about You?
Social media is a great way to express yourself without feeling restricted or censored. Unfortunately, this fact is also why some people seem to experience verbal diarrhea online. You can say just about anything online, technically speaking, without anyone ever confronting you in person – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some filters.
Just how can posting on your profile impact you? Think about it from the employer’s perspective. Tweeting all day during the week shows that you’re not really focused on the job. Sharing all of your party pictures or thoughts about illicit activities is also a bad sign for someone looking for a productive employee. Your screen name says a lot about you, too, so rename yourself or make a new account if yours is too unprofessional. No one wants to hire, “ILoveDrugs0895” or “RamsayBoltonWasRight405” (excuse the Game of Thrones Reference).
Having poor privacy settings is arguably worse than having none at all. It’s a small detail that can mean the difference between you getting a new job or not. Sort your contacts into different lists to control which posts of yours they see; post to them individually when needed to preserve your privacy.
It’s also good practice to sort out your privacy settings often, even if all of your content is family friendly. Privacy policies change frequently; stay up to date and control who can see your content to prevent unwanted attention.
How Disjointed are Your Posts?
It’s great to be interested in a wide variety of topics. Sharing your thoughts helps you connect with like-minded people and learn more. Having your social media posts jump from topic to topic consistently isn’t the best idea, though.
Specialization is one attribute an employer is looking for in you. Portraying yourself as a jack of all trades could give off the impression that you don’t know enough about your potential job role. You can always make separate accounts for your interests.
Only Talking about Yourself
By definition, your social media accounts are about you, but don’t be completely egocentric with your approach. Be interested in others through shares and comments to show others you’re sociable and can work well with others. Engage in some in-depth conversations with others in your field to show your expertise and ability to collaborate.
Having too Much or too Little Content
Sharing more about yourself doesn’t always get you more attention – or at least, not the right attention, anyway. You don’t need to explain every detail of your life to properly share your experiences with others. What’s “too much information” for your friends isn’t the same for your potential employer. Think about what your boss cares about seeing before posting, and leave the personal stuff to DMs.
By the same token, you shouldn’t share too little, though. Doing so could make you appear less capable in your field or unfamiliar with technology at all, especially if you’re on sites like LinkedIn. Posting regularly is good for building your brand and a consistent image of your personality. This consistency is also useful for personal and job security in the case of identity theft. Moderation is the key when creating your online image.
Creating an online profile that shows you at your best is a process. It takes some discipline and strategic planning to make your social media accounts resume-worthy material. The reward is a digital face that shows the true you while being appropriate for any company you’d want to work for.