You may think what you post on social media sits like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other venues doesn’t matter. Think again. According to a study from CareerBuilder, over 70 percent of employers now use social media as a screening tool before making a hiring decision.
What does that mean for job hunters? That means you must be careful what you put online and how you present yourself. Just because you think some of the social media sites may be to communicate personal information and what you post, how often you post, how you’re presented in photos that are posted with you in them doesn’t have bearing on your professional behavior and performance, employers may think otherwise.
It’s not that employers are reviewing social media posts with the intent to find a reason not to hire but they want to make sure who they are hiring fits into their culture and has the experience they’ve indicated on their application. In fact, in the same survey 61 percent of employers said they do social media screenings with the goal of finding information that supports the candidate’s qualifications and 44 percent said they found content online that caused them to hire a candidate.
So how do you make sure you fall into that 44 percent? Here are six tips to make sure your social media profile supports the professional persona you want to present to employers
1. Make sure your profiles are visible online. You may think just the opposite, but employers may disqualify you if you don’t have a visible online profile. When making your profile visible online, make sure you have removed or made private any information that could negatively impact your job search.
2. Content should support qualifications you’ve disclosed. Consistency is the key here. If you’ve put something on your application and you have something totally different within your online profile, that is a red flag to employers.
3. Proofread the content you have within your online profile. Make sure the presentation of your content displays effective communication skills. You should proofread or have someone else do it for you. Spelling and grammatical errors won’t reflect well upon you in the hiring decision.
4. Remove any inappropriate photos or videos. Visuals that are suggestive, show you drinking, making insensitive remarks, etc. should be removed.
5. Posts should not contain insensitive remarks or disparaging comments about previous employers. This applies to any remarks you have regarding race, religion, gender, employers, co-workers, etc. In general, keep any inflammatory remarks out of your social profile.
6. Screen names should be in good taste and be judicious about the frequency of posts. Yes, that can impact views potential employers have of you. Going back to photos and videos, suggestive screen names reflect upon your image as does posting too frequently.
Once you have a job though, don’t stop editing what you allow within your public social profile. Keep adhering to good practices. Employers do monitor current employees and what they are posting. It is always a good idea to do a periodic audit of what you have made public.