In today’s world, social media is a hugely important tool. Not only is it used by brands and companies to advertise products, services, jobs and opportunities but it is also used as a way to screen potential candidates and ascertain their suitability for specific roles.
In fact, one fifth of employers already screen candidates based on their social media profiles and 51% of those who use this method find something they don’t like.
So, what can you do to make your social media more attractive to potential employers?
Know the pitfalls
The first thing to do is learn what employers don’t want to see on your social media profile. Top deterrents include:
Focus on the positives
- Inappropriate photographs – 46%
- Negative comments about previous employers or colleagues – 36%
- Poor communication skills – 32%
- Evidence of lying about qualifications – 25%
- Sharing of confidential information about previous employers – 24%
- Unprofessional screen names – 21%
Next, you need to understand what employers are looking for. Some firms and hirers admitted they found content on social media profiles that actually made them more likely to give someone a job.
This content included:
Top tips to make your social media profile more professional
- Background information that supported professional qualifications – 45%
- Profiles showing a professional image – 43%
- Wide range of interests that indicated a well-rounded individual – 40%
- Evidence of receiving awards, accolades and endorsements – 31%
- Good references from other social media users – 30%
- Interaction with a company’s own social media – 24%
Now that you understand what employers do and don’t want to see when checking your social media account, it’s time to think of what you can do to make your accounts more professional.
The first thing is to ensure each account is aligned and linked with each other. This presents a uniform image of you as a person and shows that you have nothing to hide.
Secondly, make sure you adjust privacy settings on any content including photos, videos, comments and updates. If there are certain albums or content that you’d rather a potential employer didn’t see then make sure you set the privacy settings to restrict this type of access or remove it entirely.
Next, ensure that all of your information is up to date. It’s surprising how many people don’t update basic details like their location, job title or current employment so keep an eye on this and make sure your social media profiles match your CV at all times.
Keep your screen or profile names professional, using your actual name (full or abbreviated) and avoid funny characters, odd letters, nicknames, symbols, emoticons or odd fonts or typefaces.
Keep your profile picture professional too and ensure there is no content on your accounts that could be construed as offensive.
Look for ways to get colleagues, associates, followers and friends to endorse you or provide positive reviews on your professionalism or work. This may be more appropriate on some social media accounts than others – i.e. LinkedIn – but it is worth adding to all accounts where possible.
Finally, make sure that you include details of your social media profiles on your CV to show employers that you have nothing to hide and are keen for them to learn more about you. Make sure your CV tells the absolute truth and keep details of any qualifications, awards or skills matched to those on your social media to avoid any awkward questions about misinformation.
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