Is your social media presence ready for hiring authorities?
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Eighty-six percent of job seekers have at least one social network profile, according to Career Savvy. What the majority of these people might not do, however, is spend time cleansing their profiles before applying for career opportunities.
We live in a world where everything is public. With a few keywords and some clicking, you can find almost anyone on social media. This enables hiring authorities to conduct deeper due diligence on potential candidates.
If you’re starting a job search, or are already in the midst of one, here’s how to ensure your social media presence is ready for hiring authorities:
Keep it professional
A key part of being active on social media is showing your following who you are, what you engage in, who you engage with and what publicly shapes your identity. Hiring authorities might not be in your general following, but they are a key audience to keep in mind when posting on social channels. Broadly speaking, it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your online behavior.
If your social media profiles need a little cleaning, start by archiving or deleting photos or other content that doesn’t represent you as much perhaps it once did – in other words, anything you don’t want on display in the professional arena. Untag yourself from or, better yet, remove photos and posts which show you engaging in unprofessional behavior. Those photos of you partying in college with the infamous red cup might be good memories, but they’re better off stored on your camera roll and not on your public profiles. Refrain from using profanity or suggestive language, and use tasteful photos as your profile pictures to foster an appropriate first impression with any professionals who come across your accounts.
Know your presence online
Before you even think about applying for jobs, pause and do one thing: Google yourself.
You need to be aware of what’s out there for the world to see – and if you’ve never searched for your digital imprint before, you might be surprised just how far back your life can be shown online.
One of the most frequent issues people come across when searching for themselves online is the appearance of old social media accounts they’re not terribly proud of … like a Facebook or Myspace page from the turn of the century. Ensure that old profile is gone by taking it down completely. We live in an age when things can be found at the drop of a hat, so don’t fall victim to a surprise when something from your past resurfaces – and not in a good way.
Engage in personal branding
Though your social media profiles are often for personal use, it’s still important to consider how you’re branding – and broadcasting – yourself out in the world. The takeaway here is simple: consistency. Your social media presence should be a clean or cleaner extension of who you are in person.
As you go through the hiring process, your potential employer will likely turn to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok (yes, even TikTok) to learn more about you. You’re probably the most buttoned-up version of yourself in an interview; hiring authorities are also interested in who you’ll be once you’re actually a member of the team.
As you build out your social media presence, ask yourself: What do I want people to know about me? What about me would be appealing to an organization that’s hiring? Am I the same person across all social media channels?
Branding yourself in social media may seem silly for personal accounts, but it can be a huge help during your job search.
Tailor your content for each social platform
Use your social media channels for their respective purposes. Hiring authorities want to see that you can connect and resonate with followers in ways that are relatable and appropriate. By tailoring what you post and keeping it relevant to the specific platform you’re on, you’re more likely to spark follower engagement that can help build and sustain your online brand. Consider these guidelines when posting on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram:
Twitter: Be a thought leader in your industry or function – or simply on topics of interest to you. Twitter is a powerful tool for microblogging, so use its tweet cap on the number of characters to engage with others in your field, provide your appropriate opinion on various topics and stay up to date on industry news. Don’t forget to incorporate hashtags to make your content more visible to other users.
Facebook: While this historic powerhouse of a social network is not generally geared toward the professional realm, it can still be beneficial in your job hunt … and remember: Hiring authorities can still search for your profile. Make sure your profile photo, education and employment history are up to date and public. Be sure to Like the organizational pages you’re interested in to keep up with their activity and see the content they produce.
LinkedIn: If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, then it’s time to create one! LinkedIn is the most vital social media platform for job searching. Hiring authorities, HR professionals and independent recruiters alike source heavily there to vet potential candidates. A LinkedIn profile page is effectively the modern résumé; it can and should list your professional, educational and volunteer experience. Keep it updated with your latest employment details and follow organizations of relevance to you. Join industry and functional groups and conversations. Making and tapping into LinkedIn connections is what makes this platform the top networking tool around. Don’t be afraid to send messages to your connections to learn more about their own experiences and career paths. Finally, be active and engage with content: What you post and comment on shows hiring authorities what you value. Use those hashtags here as well!
Instagram: Use your Instagram account to showcase creative and fun content. This helps you stand out and provides a potential employer a taste of what you’re like as a person – and thus a sense of how you’d fit in with that organization’s culture.
Share your interests with interested parties
The majority of candidates for most positions in most organizations have the hard skills necessary for the job. So most hiring authorities and teammates want to know whether you have the professionalism it takes to sustain high-level performance in that position. Hiring authorities and colleagues in human resources might browse your online accounts to see how well you’d fit in with their specific teams. When used properly, social media can be an accessible window on your life – both in and beyond the workplace.
If you’re comfortable in doing so, don’t hesitate to post about hobbies and interests, all of which give hiring authorities a better idea of who you are and what you represent. If you aren’t comfortable sharing some aspects of your personal life online, don’t force it. It can come off as disingenuous and thus have a net negative effect on your job hunt. Ultimately, proper social media use not only displays your personality but shows hiring authorities that you’re someone who cares deeply about the people and interests which fill your life.
Among their many avenues, social media platforms enable users to provide previews of themselves to those they haven’t gotten to know yet. So make sure those first impressions compel hiring authorities to get to know you better. Draw them in with your engaging insights and content – and seal the deal with your consistent and fully professional messaging across the board.