Is it time to spring clean your social media? With over 70% of us having a social media profile, we’re putting a lot of content out there about our lives, perhaps more than we know or intend!
A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 37% of employers use social media networks to screen potential candidates, and of these employers, 65% said they do it to check whether a job seeker is presenting themselves ‘professionally’.
While the ethics of this are being considered and discussed in HR departments (by law, your potential employer isn’t allowed to find out about your religion, your gender, your sexuality and your age without your permission – and it’s illegal for them to make a hiring decisions based on these factors), employers who do screen the social media of potential recruits argue that these are public platforms.
For jobseekers using social media, the idea that you should be careful about what you share online in case a future employer sees it isn’t a new one. Beyond the basics though – probably best not to have that photo of you from a particularly extravagant Saturday night in the public domain! – There are more things to consider, like the differences between how employers look at each social media channel.
Employers are naturally curious to see more of the ‘real you’, which they’re more likely to get on social media than from your CV alone. While LinkedIn is often used to cross-check the information you put on your CV, Facebook is checked to gain insights into your personality. If the encroachment this poses on your privacy is making you nervous, you’re not alone! But remember, if you post anything publicly, anybody can legally access it. If you’re not comfortable with potential employers having access to any part of your private life, make sure your privacy settings are up to scratch. This guide takes you through all the steps.
On the other hand, if you’d like to embrace the opportunities to build your personal brand on social media, have a thorough spring clean of ALL of your content (yes go back to the very beginning of your Facebook profile!) and make sure the basics are in place. This means:
- No inappropriate photos or posts
- No references to excessive alcohol consumption and no references to drug use
- No bad mouthing previous employers
- No offensive words or images
- Try and keep typos to a minimum!
Once that’s in place, you’re in a position to start putting some positive content out there. LinkedIn is a good place to start engaging with brands and companies you’d like to work for, and by actively participating on social media – particularly LinkedIn and Twitter – you can join the conversation on topics that relate to your chosen industry. All of this creates a positive impression of you online to potential employers, which is particularly helpful if you’re going into digital industries.
When it comes to your job search, make sure that your social media accounts are appropriate for your audience. Remember: a quick check now could save you missing an opportunity later!