Whether it’s old drunken pictures from your university days or a slightly inappropriate Tweet from 2013, social media accounts can make or break your chances of landing yourself a dream job.
Or at least that’s what one 2017 study revealed. According to Career Builder’s insight, 70% of employers are snooping candidates’ social media profiles.
In fact, the same survey revealed some staggering statistics in regards to why employers decide against hiring someone. For instance, 39% of businesses didn’t hire a candidate because they found inappropriate or provocative photographs, videos or information via social.
While referencing drinking consumption/taking drugs and making discriminatory comments via social channels put off 39% and 38% of employers altogether.
If these examples set off a few alarm bells in your head, you may need to take a long look at your social media accounts before applying for your next role.
Who knows, it might just make the difference.
Check your photographs and videos
We all like to let our hair down from time to time and enjoy a night out on the tiles. But broadcasting this to the world via social media won’t always paint you in the best light.
Especially if you have friends who like to take pictures of you when you’re a tad worse for wear.
You have two choices here depending on the type of social media channel. For instance, on Facebook, you can change the settings of an album and your tagged photos so that the public or certain individuals can’t view these photos or videos.
You can also adjust your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well so you’ll have to accept someone’s request before they can view anything.
If you have any inappropriate videos or photographs on LinkedIn, you probably shouldn’t be using it anyway as it’s designed for professional use.
Once you’ve adjusted your privacy settings and cleaned up your image content, you should really think about your profile picture.
On LinkedIn, I recommend taking a photo of you smiling with a clear background to make you look more approachable.
You can find more tips on how to enhance your LinkedIn profile in our previous blog.
On more personal social accounts like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, avoid images of you partying or doing anything inappropriate where possible.
Profile pictures of you with a partner will show a caring side, while one with friends suggests that you’re sociable.
Selfies on your own aren’t always the best solution either, as this could tell employers that you are vain or don’t have many pictures of yourself in a social setting.
Making spelling mistakes and using poor grammar can really make you look lazy.
As a solution, either double-check any posts beforehand or get free tools like Grammarly to do all the hard work for you!
As a result, any snooping employers will see a level of care and the impression that you know the basic rules of the English language.
It may sound vain, but you’ll never know what the general public can find out about yourself until you search for yourself in Google.
If you have a particularly common name, put your name in quotation marks so Google only searches for those exact words.
You can then report any photos or videos posted without your permission to Google or directly to the webmaster of the specific site it appears on.
To be extra thorough, you should carry out the same process on Bing and Yahoo too.
Update your bio
This one is particularly relevant to LinkedIn users. As a professional platform, you should continually update your bio to keep employers and recruiters in the loop about your current situation.
However, employers might be interested to see a bit more about your personal life, hobbies and other job prospects via Twitter and Instagram as well. Where applicable, use hashtags, links and @s to showcase some of the various things you are involved in.
For example, if you play football on a weekend, “@” the club account into your Twitter bio. Alternatively, if you do some extra charity work for a certain organisation, you can do the same and even include a hashtag to raise awareness.
These little elements might make all the difference in determining the outcome of your application.
Stay active, but not too active
Some of these tips for cleaning up your social media presence might make you wonder whether it’s worth having them at all.
However, if you delete them, your employers may become sceptical about who you are and what you get up to behind closed doors.
As a rule, try not to post every day. Doing so could indicate that you’re likely to use social media during work hours.
Every few days or weeks is perfectly normal. In other words, be available but not too visible.
A lot to take in, right? On the whole, social media should be viewed as an opportunity for you to share moments with your friends and loved ones online.
So injecting your personality and giving sneaky employers a snapshot into your life will probably play in your favour.
The key is not to reveal everything. Staying private and avoid posting inappropriate images and comments will reflect badly on you before they’ve even had the chance to see your great qualities.
Keep it simple.
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