Manage Your (Social) Media
People spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to advance their careers with graduate degrees, yet many may be throwing it all down the drain with an embarrassing social media profile that no company would want to touch with a 1,000-foot pole. Here’s how to keep your social media profiles clean and make that advanced degree do the work it’s meant to do as you search for your dream job.
See For Yourself
You’ve Googled yourself, right? You need to do the same thing with the different social media sites you’ve signed up for. With most sites, you can view your entire history and scan through it for anything objectionable.
93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social media profile. (1)
Get Rid of What You Don’t Like
We’ve all said and done things we’re not proud of; there’s nothing wrong with deleting posts or photos that you now see are questionable or suspect others will take offense to.
40% of recent job-seekers have modified their social media presence. (1)
17% have deleted their accounts. (1)
While each site has its own mechanism for allowing you to determine what’s shared and what’s not, if you’re going to be using the sites at all, the least you can do is give these settings some attention. Facebook, for instance, allows you to remove photo tags (and approve future ones) or to hide profile details so you can’t be seen in a Google search.
Have a Second Thought
Becoming mindful of your social media footprint doesn’t just mean cleaning up your past messes. It also means being more careful going forward. If you tend to post dumb things while angry (or drunk), find ways to keep yourself from doing so.
Get Rid of Dead Accounts
Having too many accounts with long periods of inactivity can make potential employers think you’re the kind of person who won’t stick around. Determine which platforms you actually use and close the accounts for the ones you don’t.
What’s in a Name?
Remember when creating an email address was all about showing your personality? For many people, social media handles are the same way. And that’s fine — until a hiring manager sees that your Instagram name is nsync_lvr_14. You don’t need to show every personality quirk or hobby through social media; save something for the interview.
42% of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social media profile (whether good or bad) (1)
Go Off the Grid
Shutting the phone off for a night or a weekend can work wonders. Not only will you probably see a productivity bump at your current job, you may help break yourself of the always-on mind-set. That constant availability can be irritating and lead you to lash out with posts, comments and emails.
81% of employees at small and mid-sized businesses say they usually check their work email on weekends. (2)
Set Google Alerts
Want to know if someone’s mentioned you? Set a Google Alert for your name (or something more specific if you have a common name), and Google will update you on your mentions (remember to set the alert up for all your names if you have different versions).
Paint a Picture
Your profile picture will probably be the first time a potential employer sees your face (or whatever body part you’re displaying). Do you want their impression to be that you’re constantly making out at bars? You don’t have to be boring, but you should be tasteful.
80% of hiring managers like seeing that candidates were members of professional organizations. (1)
66% like to see volunteering or nonprofit donations mentioned on candidates’ profiles. (1)
Don’t Be a Comedian — Unless You Are a Comedian
Did you make a funny, off-color joke on Twitter about something in the news? Sure, your friends retweeted it, but think about how a potential employer will weigh your sense of humor when making a hiring decision. If it’s something you wouldn’t say to your co-workers with the boss listening, don’t say it on Twitter (or lock down your tweets).
Recruiters react more negatively to profanity (65%) and grammar errors (61%) than to alcohol references (47%). (1)