If your online social media presence isn’t up to par, you could be losing out on many job opportunities. According to a recent survey from recruiting platform Jobvite, 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social media profiles before making a hiring decision. There are two aspects to your social media presence that can limit the amount of recruiters and hiring managers that consider you. First, is having information or pictures that paint you in a bad light, such as controversial Tweets or photos from a New Year’s party where you had a few too many cocktails. Second, if you are not utilizing social media enough to show off your experience and qualifications, hiring managers may rule you out as a candidate if you lack a social media presence. To improve your social media presence for your job search, here are some steps to take:
1) Do some research and damage control
Google your name and search all social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. to see what comes up in both information and photos about you. You may have old social media profiles you have forgotten about with negative comments about your old job from years ago, and this could be the first thing potential employers are seeing. Or there may be pictures of you out there that other people posted on Facebook that you aren’t even aware of. The first step to improving your social media presence for your job search is to know what’s out there and start getting rid of whatever information and photos you don’t want.
Then get familiar with privacy settings, particularly on Facebook. They have changed over the years and there are multiple options regarding what others can see on your profile. You can limit content to only be accessed by certain people. Also, to improve your social media presence it’s probably a good idea to require your permission before anyone else can tag you in photos or locations (if you don’t want the whole world to know where you are at any given time or be exposed to unfavorable photos of you without warning).
2) Make the most effective use of your profile bios
To improve your social media presence and make your professional experience and achievements shine, start with adding as much as possible to your LinkedIn profile. This social network allows you to include the most detail about your professional history, skills and accomplishments. Make sure all the information is accurate and up to date. Improve your social media presence even more by mentioning achievements outside of work that will impress potential employers such as volunteer work, certifications, awards you have received or associations you are a part of.
As you would with your resume, assist hiring managers searching for candidates by optimizing your LinkedIn profile with keywords that are relevant to the industry you are in and the job you have or are looking for. With Twitter, you have only 160 characters for your bio, but you can include links and hashtags to help employers find you. Your Facebook profile should be a little more personal and conversational. Let your personality shine through, mentioning hobbies, music you like, places you enjoy visiting, etc. Hiring managers want to see who you are as a person, not just a professional. Just be sure to use tasteful language.
3) Show potential employers your skills, don’t just tell
To improve your social media presence for your job search, it’s essential to complete all your social media profiles with the most important and impressive information about yourself. But it makes an even bigger impact if you can show potential employers your achievements firsthand. LinkedIn gives you several opportunities to do this. First, with every job you include in your profile, you can include links or attachments to work samples such as speeches, artwork, press releases, blog articles, presentation or company projects. Second, taking advantage of LinkedIn Recommendations is essential to improving your social media presence. Once you have built up some solid connections, start endorsing them for skills and giving them recommendations. Then, to show potential employers what others think of your qualifications, you can make requests from people from your network to endorse you and post recommendations on your profile. This will boost the integrity of your profile and improve your social media presence for your job search big time. Finally, join LinkedIn groups related to your industry where high-level professionals are likely to hang out. Participate in group discussions to showcase your knowledge.
After you are done with your job search, it’s still important to keep improving your online social media presence. Once you are employed you represent the company you work for, and do not want to risk making both them and yourself look bad.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.