When you manage your social media profiles, keep your audience in mind. Format your accounts with the mindset that the content you post is public. Depending on the platform, you might have to take extra measures into consideration when creating content and reviewing what should stay and what should go.
In years past, job searching was a straightforward process. A job seeker applied for a position, scored an interview, provided references and secured an offer. But as technology advanced, employers gained extra tools to verify a candidate’s eligibility — including social media. Today, job seekers must consider their presence online and how it could affect their potential employer’s first impression of them.
Let’s go over some tips on how you can ensure your social media is in good shape for employers.
WHEN IN DOUBT, DELETE
Give your social media a deep clean by removing dated posts that could potentially harm your chances of getting the job you really want. If you have doubts about whether a post is appropriate or not, it’s likely best to just delete it. (You could always download it or screenshot it for posterity.) For Facebook, you can also turn on your timeline review setting so that you can approve what appears on your profile, which could help prevent photos of you from being shared publicly without your knowledge. For consistency’s sake, get in the habit of doing an occasional review of your profiles. CareerBuilder’s Liz Cannata, VP of Human Resources, advises that you should be respectful in what you post and how you engage with others.
TAKE IT BACK TO THE BASICS
Sometimes making your social media employer-friendly is as easy as checking the spelling and grammar of your captions and posts. Many job descriptions list attention to detail as a highly sought-after skill, so catching accidental misspellings and grammatical errors can easily level up your social media.
SHOWCASE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
As for important milestones, it’s worth sharing professional achievements that emphasize your skillset, like volunteering, earning a certification, graduating with a degree or getting a feature in a publication. This type of content showcases your capabilities in a way that doesn’t feel forced and boosts your credibility within your industry, especially on platforms like LinkedIn, where recruiters constantly scan for candidates who could be the right fit. CareerBuilder Human Resources Manager Karen Gaski recommends using your LinkedIn to comment on and share business posts that are important to you. You can also ask former colleagues to post recommendations to your profile to display your strengths and vouch for your impact as a team member.
CHOOSE THE PERFECT PROFILE PICTURE
It’s about making a good first impression. Regardless of the channel, your profile picture is one of the first things an employer will see, so make it count. Choose a photo that represents your personality and your professionalism. For LinkedIn especially, your profile picture is part of your brand, so it should be a high-resolution, solo image. One general rule of thumb: keep your profile picture up to date. If it’s several years old, it’s time for a new photo.
PRIORITIZE YOUR PRIVACY
Privacy should take priority for social media in general. If you like to keep life and work separate, change profiles to private for channels like Instagram and Facebook that are usually more family- and friend-oriented. Customize your privacy settings to suit your own preferences and keep a close eye on what’s set to “public,” especially since security features are always being updated and improved.
GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND
Sometimes it’s as easy as searching for your name on Google. Take a look at the top relevant results. What would potential employers find here?
Use these Google results as a guide for what to update first. It’s not uncommon for potential employers to search for your name prior to an interview or offer. It can even be the difference between hiring you or someone else. In these cases, your search results offer an extended resume with just a few clicks.
Now that you have some tips to professional-proof your social media, you are ready to fine-tune for your next job search. As you prepare for the year ahead, keep these points in mind and use social media to your benefit by enhancing your digital footprint.
This article originally appeared on CareerBuilder.com and is reprinted with permission.
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