Would you dream of going on a date with someone without checking out their Facebook or Instagram accounts first?
Employers are no different. Ninety-two per cent of companies now use social media for hiring, and 55 per cent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile, according to US research.
Follow these 7 easy steps and you’ll nab your dream job in no time
First things first, Google yourself and find out what your social media pages look like to an outsider.
“View your profles as a third party,” advises Ryan Shelley, managing director at social media consultancy Pepper IT. “This ensures that nothing intended to be personal is openly viewable to others. Remember, nothing on the Internet is truly private
Clean things up
Employers expect you to have a personal life, but “there’s a fine line between appearing human and sharing too much personal information”, says Shelley.
Unsurprisingly, 83 per cent of recruiters disapprove of references to illegal drugs and 70 per cent react badly to posts of a sexual natureˆ.
“What is acceptable comes down to your industry,” says Shelley. “The entertainment and PR industries would expect to see you mingling respectfully with the right people. More sedate industries may expect a more professional appearance.”
Remember it’s not just outrageous party photos that may damage your job prospects. Anything that could be deemed offensive or politically divisive isn’t a good look
Keep it simple and stay active
It’s better to have a well put together, up-to-date profile on a couple of platforms than lots of neglected accounts. “Only take on as many as you can manage,” says Shelley. “Yes it’s a good idea to nab a great name on an account and hold it until you’re ready to use – but don’t openly publicise an account you don’t have content for.”
Your potential employer wants to see you’re engaged in what you do, rather than faddishly joining every new social platform.
“If you’re job hunting, you should have a LinkedIn profile, plus either Facebook or Twitter to show a more personal side,” says Shelley.
Then work out which platforms would work well for your business and start using them. Ask colleagues or co-workers if there’s anything industry specific they’re using that you might be missing out on
Tailor each profile
Take some time to make your bios and profile images targeted and platform appropriate.
“Your LinkedIn account head shot and bio need to be totally professional,” says Shelley. “Your Instagram or other personal accounts can be more human and conversational.”
In these bios talk a little bit about your interests or post a photo where you aren’t wearing work attire – although nothing too revealing, of course!
Promote yourself – but not too much
Social media is a handy way to promote your professional achievements and let others in the industry know what you’re good at.
But it can also be used to show that you’re aware of news and developments in your field.
“Be careful not to overdo the self-promotion,” warns Shelley.
Instead, “follow the 5-3-2 rule. For every 10 posts, share five pieces of news from others that are relevant to your industry. This shows you are knowledgeable and keep up to date with your industry.
Share three pieces of news that are relevant directly to you, but when you do this, don’t make it a direct sales pitch. Then share two pieces that are personal or fun to show that you are human.”
Connect with people you admire
“Follow other people in your industry,” suggests Shelley. “It helps you see what they do well and learn from them. You can interact by asking insightful questions, complimenting their work and sharing their posts. It’s a great way to get noticed and often provides an opportunity to contact them directly.”
Go a step further and follow people who work at your dream company. It will help you to stay on top of what’s going on in their business, including job opportunities: lots of companies now mention vacancies on social media.
Control your own destiny
“People often forget that they don’t actually own their social presences,” says Shelley. “But a website or blog is a very powerful tool that you have complete control over.”
Use your social media accounts to link back to your personal site or blog. “Your own site takes time and effort, but you’ll definitely reap the benefits. It helps you get your message out to the world.”