Don't let social media ruin your job prospects



As the physical world continues to slip into a digital slumber, social media offers a very personal and public insight into our lives. While its methods of communication have been lauded, our personal profiles are providing a much more astute depiction of ourselves than a CV ever could, and this has resulted in employers becoming much more tech savvy when searching for future staff.

While your resume may list your academic and professional achievements, employers are just as interested in who you are as a person and increasingly, Twitter and Facebook is becoming the information source of choice. In the lead up to an interview, candidates rarely think about how social media can affect their employability, although with just a little attention, they could prevent their online identities from sabotaging their real life self.

Profile picture

First impressions count and a beer helmet, neon paint and flaming skull t-shirt hardly scream consummate professional. When businesses search for you, your profile picture is the first thing they'll see, and how you appear here implies what you are like in reality. This doesn't mean you need a professional headshot as your photo, but maybe choose something a little more respectable and a little less Crimewatch.

Check your bio

Your Twitter bio is supposed to sum up who you are in just a limited number of characters. Firstly, it's important to have one. Not having a bio robs you of personality and also suggests that you don't know how to use social networks effectively. On a basic level, your bio should tell people who you are and what you do, although don't be afraid to be creative. What you can't afford to do is put people off and wasting characters with favourite band names and love hearts shows a shallowness and immaturity.

Consider multiple accounts

If you're accustomed to using social media for strictly social purposes, don't be afraid to set up a professional account. Many of us just can't be trusted to hold back when we're online and profanity and strong opinions aren't the most desirable of traits from a business perspective. Setting up a new career focused account, unlinked to the original, will allow you to present yourself in a professional manner and network with those in the sector.

Don't forget LinkedIn

For many, LinkedIn is the forgotten cousin of the social network, with its corporate driven ideology resulting in users spending less time on it than it's more 'social' competitors. Many employers will search for you on LinkedIn to view your professional credentials, but failing to update your profile could do you a disservice. LinkedIn should show you at your best and staying on top of it will present you as an organised and polished candidate.

Control your privacy settings

Regardless of the open and closed nature of different networks, adjusting the privacy settings allows you dictate who can see what, if anything at all. You can use these settings to make you more difficult to find or just to hide certain statuses and photos from all but friends. This can be a great way of concealing your online self and stopping employers from seeing that dreaded 'Magaluf 09' album.

While your social media presence shouldn't be the main deciding factor for an employer, it all goes someway to painting a picture of who you are. While the above methods are by no means foolproof, they should save you the unenviable task of having to delete the most offending articles from your respective accounts, while at the same time making you that little bit more employable.
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