Social networks allow us to be more connected than ever before; they have changed the way in which we interact with family, friends, work colleagues and the wider world. They give us access to a wealth of information, both public and often personal. This means that potential employers can easily learn more about us than we might like.
It is common for discoveries on social networks to influence an employer’s decision when considering an application. Employers research candidates for a number of reasons. Up until the employer interviews you all they have to work with are a CV and Google.
Know your audience
Your first consideration when posting on your personal profile is who might be able to read this? It is important to understand the primary functions and audiences of the various social networks.
Do some web research on you. See what kinds of things are easy to find and tidy these up if necessary. This is also a good opportunity to assess your privacy settings. Nine out of ten people have a social network profile so make sure your private life stays private.
In a recent survey around 70% of employers admitted to checking out candidates on social networks at various stages of the screening process; 45% researched candidates upon receipt of their CV.
Be aware, that when building any profile on a social platform, it is often the images that are paid the most attention. Try to make sure any front-facing images say something positive about you, the rest make private.
In the past, people have constructed much of their first impression within the first 6 seconds of meeting you. Now they will have an impression of you before you even enter the building.
Your profile picture can be different depending on which network you are dealing with. Your profile should be a picture of you, not a group of friends, your cat or your favourite celebrity. Make sure the image isn’t lewd, offensive or is of you in a questionable situation. It is also important to ensure that the image isn’t pixelated or blurry.
Whatever you choose, your profile picture needs to be a positive image. Remember, even if your Facebook profile is set to private, people will still be able to view your profile picture.
What are you saying?
Everybody loves to rant about life occasionally, just remember who can see your content and keep your language respectable. Ranting can paint you in a negative light so be mindful of this.
When sharing content on social networks make sure that it is relevant and appropriate. It wouldn’t be appropriate to post a picture of your holiday on LinkedIn; this may be more for Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Try to share content that is both interesting and relevant to your industry.
If you find that you can’t resist posting controversial content then be ready to justify your actions and opinions at an interview.