Social media has reshaped the way we communicate with others, learn about the world we live in and how others perceive us –including employers.
Interviewing, testing and conducting reference checks are no longer the only way recruiters determine if they should make the offer. More and more, employers are turning to social to further vet their candidates.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to review your social media profiles to make sure they are professional and represent your personal brand in the best light possible.
Before you apply to your next job, it’s best to review the do’s and don’ts of professional presentation on social:
Don’t make negative comments about a current/past employer or co-worker
Your social media pages may feel like a space where you can give personal opinions on bands, restaurants –even your past employers. While it may feel good to be honest and share your opinion, when a potential employer sees this type of behavior, it is interpreted as negative or combative.
No one wants to work with someone who can’t see the positive and is going to push back on every suggestion made.
Don’t use photos that tarnish your personal brand or leave a potential employer wondering if you can handle the responsibility of their job
When a hiring manager sees a picture in which you are inadequately clothed, drinking, using drugs or making lude (or offensive) gestures, it is extremely off-putting to them.
While holding a beer at a picnic is one thing, posting a series of pictures of yourself drinking can indicate a negative behavior pattern, or appear to be glorifying a destructive lifestyle.
Although marijuana is legal for recreational use in many states, it may not be the best image to promote when looking for a new career.
Don’t follow pages of people who promote negativity or hostility
Simply put, we are reflections of our interests and hobbies. If this is the type of messaging that appeals you, an employer will think you are not a team player, are hard to manage and will negatively impact the culture of their company.
Don’t post content or make comments that can be construed as unprofessional or reckless
What you interpret as a fun activity that gets the adrenaline going may be perceived as high-risk behavior to a prospective employer.
If you are driving while live streaming, not following safety guidelines when using firearms, etc., you run the risk of an employer seeing you as someone who, at best, has a hard time following instruction and, at worst, has an issue with authority.
A professional social media presence isn’t about changing or hiding who you are as a person; it’s about being preventing a potential employer from walking away with the wrong impression of who you are as a professional.
Make sure the information on your profiles is consistent across all social accounts
You can’t be the ultimate professional on LinkedIn, while you are a professional troll on Twitter.
Regularly review your profiles and remove or un-tag yourself from pictures that can compromise the personal image you are trying to build
A professional social media presence isn’t about changing or hiding who you are as a person. It’s more about being cognizant that a potential employer could view your social activity and walk away with the wrong impression of who you are as a professional.
Check your privacy settings
For platforms like Instagram and Twitter set your account to private so only those who are following you can see what you post.
Use proper spelling and grammar!
Yes, the Grammar Police are watching you and your ability to communicate professionally and clearly –even on Twitter.
Follow professionals in your industry or the companies with whom you are interviewing
Putting your favorite corporate influencers on display communicates to prospective employers you are active and engaged in the professional networking space and, also, are serious about your professional growth and development.
If It’s Not Good Enough for Grandma…
When an employer looks into your online presence, they are looking for consistency between who they interviewed and who they find on social media. Be sure to double check your privacy settings to make sure what’s visible to the public matches the brand you are trying to build for yourself.
As a rule of thumb, before your post, ask yourself, “What would my grandparents say if they saw this?”
Social media is a great way to build your personal and professional brand, connect with employers and learn about new job opportunities. The more exposure you have, the better your probability is of connecting with your dream job. So be sure that when you do connect, the person an employer sees is someone they would want to hire.