How To Get Social Media To Work In Your Favor In Your Job Search

Linda Le Phan

Does what you post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites in your spare time have an impact on your job search? According a recent survey, the answer is yes – your posts and digital identity can have a huge effect on your ability to find and hold a job.

According to CareerBuilder’s 2016 study, over 60% of all employers now use social media sites to check out applicants; this is almost double(!) the amount of HR pros who took this approach in 2015.

Since we now know for sure that the majority of employers do check out job candidates on social before making a hiring decision, it’s time to stop ignoring the connection between your social media and your job search.  The question now, however, is –  how can you hunt for a job without totally disconnecting from your favorite networks? How can you still have fun with social, but still be a strong candidate?

Here are the main things you should consider to get social media to work in your favor during your job search:

Accept That You Have Digital Identity – Whether you Know it or Not

What happens when you Google your own name? With any luck, positive news articles about you that highlight how amazing you are to a potential employer. If you don’t find anything, or worse, find information about that fight you were in when you were in college or pictures you’d rather not have your professional network see, you have some cleanup work to do.

Many of the photos that will come up in search could be sourced from your own social media posts and pages; you may not be able to get rid of things that are out there already, but you can prevent new negative items from appearing. To do so, you need to make some changes to your privacy settings on sites like Facebook to be sure your pictures are truly only appearing where you want them to.

Claim your Listings

Have a common name? Make sure you create a Facebook and LinkedIn page before you begin your job hunt. Some employers want you to apply directly from LinkedIn and many will check your profile. By setting up a profile with your own name and correct information you can be sure they are looking at the right “John Smith” and that your information is consistent across all networks.

Do Some Cleanup Work

Before you send out that first resume, go back through your social media profiles and remove any images or posts that could be controversial or viewed negatively by a potential employer. Someone who hires you is going to want to be sure you can professionally represent their brand; scrubbing your profiles of not-so-great posts and images will ensure employers aren’t scared off by your profile.

Your own posts matter, but so do the things others post on your pages. That uncle with the questionable views on race relations, the feuding liberal and conservative cousins and you’re your own parents could tag you or post something that could adversely impact your job search. Untag yourself from images or posts that could be seen as unprofessional on Facebook and dig through your Twitter posts to make sure there is nothing lurking that could be a problem for you.

According to CIO magazine, employers often use social media posts about drinking, drug use, crime and other unsavory activities to eliminate candidates during the selection process.

Boost your Privacy Settings

While you want to be searchable by a potential employer, use privacy settings to keep your profiles and images secure. You won’t be able to prevent anyone from viewing your profile, but you can protect at least some of your information from prying eyes. Social media sites do change privacy settings often, so regularly review what shows on your profile to make sure you are only publicly sharing information and images you intend to.

Use Social Media to your Advantage

During your job hunt, posting interesting, relevant content that shows you are well rounded and professional can help you get the attention you want from employers. This is especially true for public or consumer-facing roles such as marketing, sales, customer service, consulting, and teaching, just to name a few.  As an added bonus, content you share often shows up when your name is searched, pushing unwanted or negative information further from the top of the results.

Social media can be a powerful networking tool and by carefully reviewing the data you share and the image you present to potential employers, you can make the most of your social profiles as you look for a new position.

 

Have any other great social media tips to know for the job search? Or want to stay up to date on other job search tips and topics? Follow along with us @kununu_US!

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Linda Le Phan is the Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a place where job seekers can get an authentic view of life at a company and where employers have a trusted platform to better engage talent. That means that everything on the editorial calendar goes through her (want to write for us? learn more here). When she’s not creating content about the modern workplace, company culture, and life & work hacks, she is probably going out to get an iced coffee (even in Boston winter), raiding the snack drawer, or jamming to kununu’s Spotify playlist.