Social media is a vital tool for job seekers these days. Not only can you find job leads through social media, employers and recruiters may look at what you’re doing on social media. You need to know how to use social media and how to make your accounts look good should a potential employer take a look during the hiring process. Here’s a checklist to help you prepare your social media accounts for your job hunt.
Have an account on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the most important social media website when you’re looking for a job. The Jobvite recruiter survey in 2015 found that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn. Some employers and recruiters seek people out on LinkedIn. You can set up a resume on there so that they can see your work history and experience. Some employers will allow you to apply through LinkedIn, making it all the more important to have a resume prepared there.
LinkedIn is not a place for socializing with your friends, although you should connect with people you know there. It’s for networking. Don’t share anything there that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Building your network may also help you land a job – 78% of recruiters in that survey said they get their best quality candidates through referrals.
Use job related keywords.
Use keywords and phrases relevant to the jobs you would like to have. If a recruiter is searching LinkedIn for candidates, these will improve your chances of being noticed.
Join LinkedIn groups.
Join groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to your career. Participate. Show your knowledge.
Get LinkedIn references for your skills. You can ask your connections for references. You may want to them edit it if they don’t phrase it with the right keywords. Be polite and understanding, even if someone chooses not to give you a reference.
Follow their social media.
Follow companies you would like for on their social media accounts. Include their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other relevant accounts. This will help you keep up with what they’re doing and may help you spot openings. It also shows your interest.
Know which social networks employers will want to see.
If there’s a social media network that’s relevant to the kind of work you would like to be doing, make sure you have a visible presence on there. Instagram and Pinterest are good if you want to work in a highly visual or design oriented field, for example. Make sure such accounts look professional. It’s one of the places you can show off your skills on your own terms.
Review your photographs and videos on all social media accounts.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not listing your social media accounts when you apply for a job – clean them up anyhow. You never know if a potential employer is going to look you up online, and you don’t want embarrassing photographs or videos to ruin your chance at the job.
Don’t forget photos your friends may have tagged you in. You may need to ask them to remove the tags while you look for work.
Most important would be your profile image and cover image. These are the most prominent in your account and will be one of the first things visible. Make sure these look professional.
Clean up posts about drinking, drugs, sex, guns or anything else a potential employer may find inappropriate.
It doesn’t matter if what you’re doing is entirely legal – most employers consider social posts about drinking, drug use and so forth a negative when considering an employee. You want them to see the best of you.
Inappropriate comments about race, gender and so forth should be removed.
Hopefully you aren’t saying awful things about people based on race, gender and so forth. Even if you think it’s nothing more than a joke, employers don’t want to see these kinds of things, and they can leave a very poor impression.
Review your political posts.
You may also want to use caution in what political posts show up. You have the right to express yourself, but potential employers are deciding if they want you to represent them. At the very least, make sure political posts are politely phrased and don’t involve name calling. On the other hand, if that’s who you are and you’re proud of it, leave it up while knowing the risks.
Nothing negative about current/former employers or coworkers.
If a potential employer sees you bad mouthing an employer or coworker, they may assume that you’ll do the same to them. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t name names. It doesn’t matter if you have a good reason. It doesn’t matter if they really are that awful. Take it down when you’re looking for a new job. Also think carefully about such posts in the future. Venting in person or on the phone with trusted friends may be a better choice.
Check your grammar, spelling and so forth.
If your social media accounts are filled with poor spelling, lousy grammar and a general problem with clear communication, employers are not going to be impressed. I know many people love to use textese, but the ability to communicate clearly in a more traditional manner is what employers want.
Include your volunteer work.
If you volunteer somewhere, don’t be shy about sharing that fact. Volunteer activities not only often go well on a resume, they should be listed on your LinkedIn account.
Check your privacy settings.
You may think you know how well you’ve locked down your Facebook account or other social media accounts, but are you certain? Review your settings so that you know where they’re at. If possible, have somebody who is not on your friends list check it too. Make sure your accounts show what you want them to show. Some social networks give you more control than others.
Don’t share everything.
If you’re sharing everything you do all day long, employers may see that as a tendency to waste time on social media. You may want to rethink the balance between being yourself and oversharing. If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it, don’t share it where everyone can see it.
Don’t delete your accounts.
Don’t feel that you have to delete your social media accounts, especially if you want to work anything related to marketing. If the job has to do with marketing or social media, a lack of a presence is a problem. Social media uses is so common these days, it could be a problem even if the job has nothing to do with social media. Some employers will think you’re hiding something if they can’t find any social media accounts for you. They might also see you as behind the times.
Having a solid social media presence can make you more interesting to potential employers. Take advantage of the good parts to make a good impression when you’re looked up. If you aren’t visible, someone else could be mistaken for you. That could be a problem.