And it’s not just our friends and family reading our posts and comments. Companies regularly research job candidates online before making hiring decisions. In fact, 60% of employers check out candidates’ social media activity and almost half of employers have not hired someone based on social media posts, according to a 2016 survey on CareerBuilder.
As you get ready to write that next tweet or upload to Instagram, keep in mind that you are building a digital footprint, giving the world—including employers—a snapshot of who you are. Here are some things to steer clear of:
- Provocative photos
- Discriminatory comments
- Alcohol or drug use
- Complaints about your job, boss, or co-workers
Before you swear off social media altogether, CareerBuilder’s survey also revealed that almost one-third of employers will not hire someone who lacks a digital footprint. Companies see an absence of social media as a sign that the candidate isn’t current with today’s trends or is maybe even hiding something.
So what’s a digitally-active person to do? First, just use common sense. If you doubt the appropriateness of a post, then don’t post it. Also, think about how you might use social media to showcase yourself as a well-rounded, intelligent individual. Present yourself as a competent candidate by posting around topics like:
- Volunteerism and your willingness to help others
- Positive personality traits
- Your interests and hobbies
- Articles relating to your professional experience or industry
Curious about your current digital footprint? Google your name and see what pops up. Scan your Facebook and Twitter pages for unsuitable comments, memes, and photos. If possible, delete or make private any questionable or inappropriate posts. Polish up your accounts to give them a professional appearance (including your profile and cover photos). LinkedIn remains the most popular site researched by employers, so give extra attention to your profile, keeping it professional, accurate, and current. And as with all communications, spelling and grammar matter! Don’t be sloppy and avoid mistakes in your writing at all times.
Believe it or not, social media can make or break you getting that next job. Don’t be afraid to post, but do take care to put your best foot forward. Want more tips on how to find the perfect job? Reach out to us today!