You should already know that if you’re searching for a job, it’s time to remove those drunken photos from your buddy’s bachelor party in Vegas. Many job recruiters check out social media profiles before making a hiring decision, which means it’s up to you to put your best virtual foot forward. Follow these tips, tricks, dos and don’ts to make sure your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts don’t hurt your chances of landing your dream job.
1. Hey Good Lookin’
Any public photos you post should be professional and all photos you post to LinkedIn should be professional. Remember, LinkedIn is used primarily for business networking, not interacting with your old college roommates. Ideally, your main photo should be a headshot of you wearing appropriate clothing for your job field.
2. Tweet this!
Okay, so you’ve jumped on the Twitter hashtag bandwagon and you have no plans of getting off any time soon. That doesn’t mean your written content can’t still be accurate, though. Most people know that social media posts are prone to abbreviations, which is fine. Avoid totally misspelling words, though – potential employers are going to be looking at your writing skills everywhere, not just in your resume and cover letter.
3. Debbie Downer
Misery may love company, but your Facebook wall is no place for complaints, especially about your job, boss or co-workers. I’m not saying you don’t work for the spawn on Satan, just that your future boss doesn’t have to know that. Instead of bad mouthing your supervisors, showcase that you’re a positive person who’ll work well with a team.
The freedom of speech is not an excuse to aggressively argue your point about religious, political or taboo social topics online, especially when you’re on the lookout for work. Save the debate for a night in with friends – online, being overly verbal about an emotionally charged topic will often put you in a bad light. Of course you’re entitled to your opinion, but when you’re searching for a job, the only things you should be highlighting are your education, skills and accomplishments.
5. Humble Braggadocio
Being down to earth is one thing; being self-degrading and helping others make a joke out of you is another. A lighthearted post about a silly misstep is fine, but a full description of how you majorly screwed up last night at a D.U.I. checkpoint shouldn’t be public knowledge. The same goes for bragging. “Thrilled that I’m about to graduate from Vassar College!” is fine; writing about how your soon-to-be-husband took you on a shopping spree because he’s sooooo rich is just plain obnoxious.
6. Get Connected
Social media is a great way to find out about local networking events. Connecting online with people is an excellent start, but you should take those connections off-line and try to meet up with your network in person, too.
7. Keep It Consistent
Assume that whoever you’re interviewing with is going to compare your hard copy resume to your online work history. Your Facebook and LinkedIn information should always match what you have on your resume. Contradictions regarding names of employers, employment dates and job positions are a red flag that you may not be trustworthy.
8. Brand Yourself
Think of yourself as a brand. You know how big companies use social media to promote their products or services? Use your social media accounts to (maturely) promote yourself.
Not a Social Media User?
With all of these “rules,” it’s tempting to think, “I’m just going to skip over social media entirely!” Before you delete your Facebook account, though, remember that most employers are looking to hire people who are on trend. Many employees have to know how to get around various social media sites and the internet in general, whether it’s part of the job description or just showcases a willingness to keep up with technology.