The internet has truly changed the game for job seekers and job hunters alike. As a job seeker, information and resources to improve your skillset that were formerly difficult to obtain are now at your fingertips. Job postings are no longer restricted to window fronts and newspaper ads but easily shared and searched online. With these positive changes to the job hunt environment come areas of caution as well, and social media is one of the biggest. The good news when searching for a job is that there are ways you can prevent it from turning into a major obstacle. Here’s a quick, easily implementable list to get started:
Google yourself. Whatever shows up in the results is what potential employers can see too. If there is content, especially photos, that are less than professional, take them down. On the flip side, if you have a really common name and there is nothing about you on the first page of the search results, you should work to build a positive, professional online presence. Here are some great tips from Entrepreneur about building your personal brand.
Make your personal social accounts private. If your account is private, employers will only see minimal information and not your recent family vacation photos and all of the other personal information you share there.
Ensure your profile photos are professional. Even if you make your account private, your profile photos are still usually viewable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a suit-and-tie headshot, but it most certainly should not be a bikini pose or party night selfie.
Scrub your accounts for embarrassing content & be cautious when posting new content. The loophole in some social media accounts is that the security settings are not always obvious or clear. Friends of friends may still view your profile even if it’s set to private. Take the tactic of “better to be safe than sorry” and filter your posts while on the job search. Remove old, incriminating content. And if you wouldn’t show or tell a potential employer what you are about to post, then don’t.
Be upfront and honest. If your employer finds something that you missed and asks you about it, don’t deny the truth. Be honest and respectable in your response. Honesty is always the best policy.
Want even more social media do’s and don’ts? Check out these online resources:
Facebook Do’s and Don’ts for Job Seekers from CBS News
How Social Media Can Help (or Hurt) You in Your Job Search from Forbes