Editor’s Note: This article was originally published back in April 2014. Although it is still useful for ensuring your page is prepped for any employers, our more recent article “How to get a job with social media“ could be more useful if you’re looking for advice on how your social media could be helping/hindering your job search.
Job seekers, take note. In recent years employers and social networking sites have become greatly familiar with each other. Time for a spring clean…
An employer can check up on your page, which is likely to be an insight into your personal life, featuring photos documenting your social life, statuses or tweets expressing your opinion on a topic – which they might disagree with – and clues of your personality.
All this runs the risk of ruining the professional image you wish to portray. So how can your social media be made presentable to employers?
The place to start is your privacy settings. Updating these allows you to choose exactly what prospective employers can or can’t see. Everything you post of Facebook has the option to be shown to everyone, only you can even customise it to restrict who can see it. This can all simply be done by going to ‘settings’ and ‘privacy’. This audience selector is also available for information such as your hometown and birthday. However, some information on Facebook is always public – your photo, cover photo, name, gender and username – this is because they are classed as ‘essential’ in connecting with people.
Twitter is less optional, with your tweets either being open for everyone to see even if they are not following you. Although there is a private setting that allows you to accept followers, to make your Tweets exclusive to a minority. Similarly your location can be ‘on’ or ‘off’.Presentable pages
Making sure your profile is tidy and respectable is a necessity, but there are also positives to prospective employers checking out your social media profiles. Keep your ‘employment’ section, particularly on Facebook and obviously Linked-in, up –to-date. It’s almost like a mini CV showing the types of places you’ve worked in and your job role. In addition, you can indicate how long you stayed at the job, which allows you to boast your reliability.
Try to leave behind any light hearted ‘groups’ or ‘pages’ you joined from your youthful school days, such as “It’s 5am, I’m drunk and on Facebook”, it’s not like you’ll miss them… Remove any comments from friends, which could affect your reputation and make sure any comments or tweets made by you are not discriminatory.
LinkedIn is one of the best social networks for boosting your professional image. Unlike Facebook, it gives you the space to emphasise your accomplishments whilst describing your positions, besides from just listing them. Comments from previous employers and colleagues can also be added, as well as ‘endorsements’.
Remember to keep your email up to date and workplace appropriate – not the nickname you had in college. It would be helpful to have spellcheck activated for all your statuses and Tweets, as poor grammar will not impress employers.
Overall, clean up your social media from back in the day and conduct yourself as you would in person, in a professional setting. Obviously you can still use it socially, keeping in contact with friends and storing images – but remember, ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’. Don’t post anything that may cause controversy or be misread. Use your social media to present the person you would want to be seen as in the work place.
By content assistant – Alice Hughes – @aliceeehughes