Remember when your parents used to say “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” Well, that rule still applies and should be followed – especially in the world of social media and how it affects your chances of landing a job!
Used to, all a recruiter needed to do was glance at a paper resume to make a decision as to whether you got an interview or not. Today, social media allows recruiters and prospective employers to give you the once-over without ever looking at your resume and that can be good – and bad.
The good side is that if you’re active online, social media enables you to show how “tech savvy” you are. You can also use these digital platforms to highlight your qualifications as well as your personality to show potential employers what you could bring to their workplace.
The bad side, and this one is becoming clearer each day, is what you put out there will almost certainly come back to bite you. Now employers are using social media platforms to discover things about you that you would probably rather they did not know.
When was the last time you Googled yourself? If you’re in the market for a new job, one of your first tasks should be typing your name in quotes into Google and then sit back to see what pops us. If a photo or a video or anything else that you don’t want a potential employer to see comes up, you should get to work on removing it from wherever it was posted.
Companies and organizations are no longer calling around and checking references, they are going to your LinkedIn page to see your recommendations. They are scanning your tweets to get a sense of your personality and what type of individual you are. They are looking through your Facebook posts to see what you do in your daily life.
Businesses do not want to hire someone who possesses the ability to give their company a bad public image. No one wants to hire a drunk, or a party animal, or an unmotivated individual. They want the best of the best to represent their company.
So where do you begin?
Let’s take a look at using Facebook for example in a positive way to help lead you to your next opportunity:
With over 900 million users, Facebook is definitely the leading star of social media. The average person uses it to maintain connections with friends and family members but more and more businesses are using it to “spy” on their employees or potential future employees. Being careless with the information you share on your personal profile can lead to having your resume pushed to the bottom of the pile.
- Do get to know and use your privacy settings. To get started, click on the drop-down arrow in the upper right-hand corner next to “Home” and find Privacy Settings. For example, under “Control Your Default Privacy,” you can choose to make your account public (available to the whole world), make it available to only the people you “friend,” or customize it. Ask yourself, “If someone were to Google my name, do I want my Facebook profile to appear?”
- Do choose a strong and unique password. Only use that password for Facebook.
- Say straight-out that you’re on the market. Post a message that says you’re looking, and for what. Your friends can be an amazing resource. You never know who or what people know that could help you. Of course, if your current supervisor is one of your Facebook friends and is unaware that you are looking for a new job, you may want to reconsider posting.
- Do sift through your photos to make sure they’re all G-rated. Delete questionable pictures of yourself. Untag yourself from any unsavory photos, whether they include your image or not.
- Be diplomatic in your “updates.” Don’t gripe about your current boss. Don’t use swear words, and be mindful of participating in controversial topics or debates. Think of your Facebook account like talking to your mom. If you wouldn’t say it or do it in front of your mom, then don’t say it or do it on Facebook.”
- Do “like” or “join” Facebook pages of companies or organizations that interest you, as a way of staying abreast of news and promotions.
- Don’t create separate work and personal profiles. With two of them, you can easily get confused and post to the wrong account.
- Don’t “friend” anyone you don’t feel comfortable sharing your life with.
Whether you believe it or not, there are people out there monitoring your every move online. So be careful what you post. Go through and clean up your online profiles – you’ll be glad you did.
There’s a time and place for everything so make sure you know when it’s the right time to have fun and when it’s the right time to be professional.