With the rise of social media, it’s now standard practice for employers and recruiters to analyse applicants’ profiles during the hiring process. Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram allow employers and recruiters to get a glimpse into who you really are – aside from what you’ve already told them on your CV or cover letter. That’s why you should ensure your digital footprint reflects well on you. Here’s how.
Your Social Media Footprint
It is extremely important that candidates pay attention to their ‘social media footprint’. This is the trail that you leave behind every time you post a status on Facebook, retweet something on Twitter, upload a photo to Instagram or publish a video on YouTube.
These days, filtering through job sites and refining your CV aren’t the only things to focus on during the job application process. It’s also as important to do a social media spring clean where you remove any and all inappropriate information, content and images that you wouldn’t want a future employer to see. It is important to understand that what you do or say on social media has the power to help or severely hinder your job search process.
You should also Google yourself to begin with. Simply search for your name and see what comes up in the results. If any of the results fail to display you in the best light, then we’d advise you take the appropriate measures to remove this type of content.
The next step is to check on your privacy settings, however these can only do so much. Try to ensure that all of your content is private, and not set to public or friends-of-friends. Jobvite, a recruiting software company, carried out research on 1,855 HR managers and discovered some interesting insights. Nine out of ten employers admitted to checking applicants social media profiles pre-interview. Over half of recruiters have also reconsidered hiring a candidate based on their social media profiles due to negative content they discovered.
An astonishing 69% of employers have admitted to rejecting an applicant after discovering disheartening content on the applicant’s social profile. Below we list some of the most common reasons recruiters reject a new applicant after analysing their social profiles:
- The applicant lied about their background, education or qualifications on their CV.
- The applicant posted negative content about a previous employer, or company.
- The applicant posted inappropriate images, many relating to alcohol – heavy drinking and wild nights out aren’t appealing to employers.
- The applicant posted references to illegal drugs – 83% of recruiters said this is a strong turn off.
- The applicant posted ‘sexual’ content, 70% of recruiters said this will count against you.
- The applicant posted political affiliations on their social pages.
Facebook & Twitter profiles
Facebook and Twitter are the two social platforms which recruiters and hiring managers favour when searching for prospective employees on. Therefore, it’s essential that these profiles are optimised when beginning your job search.
Our tips to ensure that you maintain a professional social profile include:
- Create two profiles, one personal and one professional. Keep these two networking profiles separate, one for engaging with your friends, the other to engage with companies and employers.
- Ensure that you set your privacy settings to maximum on profiles used for engaging with friends.
- On your professional profile, consider adding extensive details of your qualifications, education and relevant skills. You should also join groups that are relevant to your job search, ‘like’ companies that you are interested in.
What impresses potential employers on social media networks are: excellent communication skills, professionalism, range of relevant and inspiring interests and positive experience and qualifications.
LinkedIn is a social network that serves millions of members worldwide – specifically members that want to improve their careers by connecting and networking with other professionals. For jobseekers, LinkedIn can be a great platform to connect with like-minded individuals and businesses.
However LinkedIn users must remember that this is a professional platform above all, and not the place to post personal information about daily activities, arguments or emotions. LinkedIn should be used by individuals to showcase their achievements, education, skills and qualifications. A LinkedIn profile is in essence an online CV, so be sure to list your past jobs and achievements on your profile in order to attract recruiters or employers in your field. All of this will help you to build a positive personal brand.
So there you have it, our tips for creating a professional social media footprint. For all those job seekers out there we urge you to remember that everything you post or are tagged in on social media has the potential to resurface when an employer is searching for you.