When you’re on the hunt for a new job, or even just open to new opportunities should the right one materialise, it’s important to present yourself in the best light possible.
There used to be an old saying – “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”, meaning you can hide your real identity behind usernames and aliases. These days, however, we have become accustomed to sharing everything about ourselves on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
This means you have to be very careful about what you say about yourself, especially because a potential future employers can access this information freely simply by typing your name. If this information paints a negative picture about you, it could seriously hinder your chances of getting hired.
The good news is that you are in control over what you post and how your profile looks, so you can actually improve your chances of getting that interview or job offer if you take the time to review and optimise your profiles. Here’s a quick guide to preparing your social media profiles for a job hunt.
The most obvious social network when on the lookout for jobs is LinkedIn, the professional social network geared toward job seeking, recruitment and hiring.
Recruiters use LinkedIn every day not only to search for candidates, but also to cross check information about candidates from other sources. The best way to quickly investigate the appropriateness of a candidate before making contact with them directly is by quickly searching for their name on LinkedIn. They’ll be on the lookout for relevant experience, skills and recommendations.
Thankfully, LinkedIn is made for this purpose and will guide you through completing and updating each section of your profile.
Another way to get ahead is to be active in using LinkedIn. Like, share and comment on post in your news feed. Write articles for LinkedIn Pulse – they don’t have to be long or particularly ground-breaking, but content like this will help you stay relevant and get your name on other people’s news feeds each day.
Also, connect with relevant people to expand your network. You never know which connections might help you in your job search at some point. Be proactive!
If you are looking for your next career move, make it easy for recruiters to reach out to you by placing your email address or contact number on your profile, or invite contact via InMails.
However, LinkedIn recently launched a new feature called “Open Candidates” which allows you to declare yourself actively looking for job offers and proposals, without informing your current employer. This is a clear signal to recruiters and will make you easier to connect with.
To activate this, go to the LinkedIn Jobs homepage or click here for a shortcut.
While you’d expect most recruiters to look to LinkedIn for evidence of your credentials and professional qualities, those doing the hiring are increasingly likely to look at your personal social media presence to make sure there is nothing untoward about their potential new hire.
The first thing they might do is type your name into a Google. Try it now and see what comes up.
If there are any results for pages you have control over, make sure you check they only contain content you’d want a potential next employer to see.
The most likely top hit, if you use it, is Facebook, and it’s most hirer’s next stop after LinkedIn when investigating a candidate.
In most cases, it’s probably best to review your privacy settings to hide all but your most basic profile information from the public. This is considered good practice on Facebook anyway, so don’t worry about arousing suspicion about what’s hidden on your private profile. Just make sure your profile picture and cover images are appropriate, as these are still likely to show up publicly.
Since you never know who in your circle of friends might one day think of you for a job, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and anywhere else. Avoid posting updates featuring strong language, risqué content, or references to things like drugs, alcohol, guns, violence and other explicit themes.
Another reason you should be paying close attention to your Facebook profile is the impending Facebook Jobs feature, allowing businesses to post jobs on their company pages and candidates to apply using their Facebook credentials. This will make applying for jobs a lot quicker and easier for you, but directly links your application to your Facebook account, so take extra care about what a prospective employer can see.
Facebook Jobs is rolling out across the US and Canada now, and will surely be released wider before too long, so get your profile up to date as soon as possible.
The internet contains more information about us than ever before, and it’s easy for anyone to access. Rather than holding you back from great opportunities, proactively use these tools to show potential employers that you’re the kind of person they want to hire.
To speak to us about your next career move, please don’t hesitate to contact us.