We all do it, we study people and lurk on the internet. Finding information out about our exes, people from high school and of course – prospective employers.
Social media is just one of the many tools in our swiss army knife of online research abilities.
Chances are if you can successfully find out information about an employer, then they can do the same thing with you.
According to CareerBuilder – 60% of employers use social media to research potential job candidates. Additionally, 59% of hiring managers use search engines to research about the candidate.
Social media or search engines, it doesn’t matter – if it’s online, it can be found.
There are pros and cons to everything though – social media and the internet can also be used to enhance your image with potential employers.
Here are 5 things to consider when reviewing your online/social presence in consideration to applying for jobs
1. Where are you?
This isn’t a philosophical question that was gathered out of a fortune cookie. Where are you found online?
Do you have an old Myspace account that has photos of an underage party that you were in attendance? Fact is– if the photo involves alcohol – remove it, or anything that displays your less than perfect lifestyle choices.
Better yet, if you have a platform that you aren’t active on, delete said platform.
Do a thorough search online for all things related to you, chances are you can remove/manage any and all discriminating content – even that which is found on search engines.
2. Enhance your Current Platforms
As stated above, if you aren’t active on a platform, then what is the point? There is no point having a Twitter account if your last ‘Tweet’ was from 2016. It shows a lack of commitment. Depending on what role you are applying for that could be catastrophic.
This is the part where you can have a positive impact on your online presence. Use social media to share the views and social impact statements that you care about that display your personality.
This can also be a double-edged sword, if you are sharing statements that aren’t in-line with a company’s policies, then that may also affect your chances at securing employment.
Although, If the company you are applying for has a problem with your voice, then do you really want to work for them anyway?
3. Your Mates sometimes aren’t your Mates
Depending on their job titles, some employers have no issues with an employee’s social media account(s). These are the mates I am talking about. The ones with nothing to lose that won’t hesitate to share and tag photos of you in incriminating situations.
Monitor your profile with vigilance. What are they commenting on your photos? What memes are you being tagged in? Worst of all, what photos/memes have they put onto your personal newsfeed?
One of the best things about social media is its ability to allow you to network with people within your industry. This is the step that can really showcase your viewpoint on industry relevant topics and show prospective employers that you are up to date on trending work related topics.
LinkedIn is by far the most useful (not to mention specifically designed) platform for networking. Join groups, connect with people within your industry and share relevant content.
5. The Private Account
This one is more of a back-up plan than a safeguard. Even the most private accounts can still have information leaked. The above steps should still be followed to make sure you are in charge of the content being displayed online.
Nonetheless, every social media platform has some form of privacy settings. If there are some incriminating photos or a potential to be tagged in future incriminating photos, protect yourself – privatize yourself more than what our government is attempting to do so.
“Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.” – Paul Gillin
For better or worse, social media has changed the way we network, communicate and display all aspects of life. Ignoring the don’ts and not displaying the dos of social medias best practice may be the difference between landing that job and not.