Ahh, social media. We use it to connect with new friends, stay in touch with old ones, and keep up-to-date with the latest memes. Oh, the memes! But, what you might not realize is that social media is also teeming with potential employers, looking for their next great hire or eliminating them based on likes, tags, and shares. That’s right – aside from being an excellent place to post thoughtful life updates—and did we already mention the hilarious memes? — your social media profiles also provide ample fodder for employers hoping to learn more about their job candidates. Yep, that includes you!
Consider this: In 2017, an astounding 70 percent of employers used social media to screen potential hires, and this figure is only likely to increase in the coming years. That’s why it’s more crucial than ever to completely revamp your social media presence, making it so awesome that every employer would only have to consider why they shouldn’t hire you.
One question remains, however. What exactly will make your social media profiles stand out – in a good way! – and signal to future employers that you’re intelligent, creative, and definitely worthy of a steady paycheck? That’s a great question, and one that your friends at uCribs are glad you asked. Below, check out 4 ways to prepare your social media presence for your looming job search.
Conduct a Google search on yourself.
You’ve researched Royal Baby updates and current Netflix documentaries, but have you ever tried Googling yourself? If not, we highly recommend it. When it comes to your online reputation, there’s no such thing as knowing too much about your digital self. The truth is, anything on Google is publicly accessible, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the information anyone can grab with a few simple search queries. There’s probably more out there than you even realize, and by keeping yourself in the dark, you could easily make or break your job search.
Your Google search will likely track down any unused social media profiles, news articles, and/or blogs. Now, what are you supposed to do with this intel? Well, if your search has revealed a Tumblr account from your middle school years, go ahead and delete it. But, if it has has led you to some unflattering material that’s unable to be removed – like a news story detailing your involvement in a car accident – you’ll want to strategize how to approach that topic if it’s brought up in an interview. We surely hope that doesn’t happen, but when it comes to your job search, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Use a high-quality profile image.
It used to be that headshots were a standard component of any job search strategy. Thankfully, the rise of technology has made physical headshots an option, not a necessity, but in its place have come the 21st century equivalent: social media profile images. Also known as “profile pics,” your profile image is literally the first image a searcher sees when looking you up, so there’s plenty of good reason to make sure that small, round image hits the proverbial nail on the head – and looks darn good doing it!
An excellent profile image should clearly display your face and have a simple, distraction-free background. In other words, don’t crowd your image’s limited space by including a ton of friends in your photo or background area – this will only overwhelm and deter your recruiter from learning more about you. And, though it may sound harsh, if your profile image is of an animal, a cartoon character, or a faceless default image, you’ll probably want to change it, or else risk being seen as immature, lazy, or complacent. Finally, any profile images deemed NSFW (Not Safe for Work) should be deleted and replaced immediately – and yes, this applies to image captions, too!
Make sure your posts are clean and professional.
At this point, you’ve probably triple-checked every social media site you use in preparation of your upcoming job search. If so, congratulations! But, even if you’ve scrutinized each and every tagged photo, shared link, and informational field, there may still be some lingering content that didn’t initially raise any red flags. Have you re-posted any aggressively minded political blogs lately? What about memes that might confuse an older viewer? There’s certainly nothing wrong with using social media to explore your beliefs and flaunt your sense of humor, but when you’re in job seeking mode, it’s probably best to hide any material that might make someone question your professionalism.
You will also want to make sure that you haven’t spoken ill of any past employers or local businesses in your status updates or live videos. While it’s understandable to want to air grievances on Facebook, doing so is a risky move if you’re on the hunt for a new position. You never know if a potential employer will have ties to another company you’ve worked for— and then bad-mouthed on your feed. Additionally, your scathing review of a local coffee shop might be the place where your future boss picks up her morning brew because he or she knows the owner personally. As you’ll soon learn, the professional world is all about connections and networking, so if you come across any resentful posts about your boring summer job or your terrible internship coordinator, do yourself a favor and delete them.
Consider changing your security settings.
You’ve scrubbed your way to a squeaky-clean social media presence, and now, your job applications are officially ready to send out. But, before you continue your job hunt, you’re wondering if there’s a way to control the type of content your profiles reflect, without having to devote hours to a full detox every few weeks. While there’s no substitute for a social media cleanup like one you’ve just completed, you do have the option of changing your profile’s privacy settings, and honestly, doing so now will save you a ton of time and sanity down the line. Just think about how nice it’ll be to provide your resume to recruiters without having to stress over your most recent Tweet!
The most obvious way to ensure profile security is to make your profiles private across different channels. Facebook and Instagram offer hassle-free ways to do this, with Facebook offering more in-depth controls for tagged photos and comments. If you’re an avid Twitter user, take note that your Tweets are public by default, but that can also be changed. It’s up to you to decide which privacy settings make the most sense for your posting habits, but just remember that while social media channels can feel very private, they are an extremely public domain. So, if you’re hoping to hide certain things from onlookers, it’s probably best to completely eliminate them from your feed. Screenshot receipts are as hot as ever in 2019, you know.
Social media has brought a lot of 21st century convenience to our lives, but with it has come a sense that our social habits are still far from trackable. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. As a college student about to enter the working world, now is the time to remove the blinders, take a hard look at your social media profiles, and correct any issues before a potential employer gets to them first. It may sound like a difficult process, and depending on your profiles, it might be – but won’t it feel great to receive a job offer based on your professionalism? We say that calls for a celebratory meme post!