Your social media profiles are snapshots of your life—who you are, what you do and what you care about. It’s fun to share your dog’s fourth birthday and the trip you went on last weekend! However, it is essential to remember that while friends and family are liking and commenting, your posts may be reaching another audience: employers. Use these guidelines to help balance a personal yet professional social media presence.
Be Careful What You Post
In the modern era of technology, it is no surprise that many employers decide to look up applicants online before offering an interview or job. In fact, 67% of hiring decision-makers say they use social media to research job candidates, according to a study conducted by Express Employment Professionals. On top of that, 55% of these decision-makers decided to not hire a job candidate because of something on their social media profile.
With that in mind, it is important to evaluate your current online presence. Look at your profiles from an outside perspective or have a trusted friend or family member assess them. Ask yourself, “What does my profile convey to others?” and “Does my profile leave a positive or negative impression?” Ensure your profile picture, header and biography are approachable and appealing.
While it is acceptable to share posts from your social scene, you should do so with discretion. Consider deleting any posts with curse words, inappropriate clothing or alcohol. If you aren’t sure whether your post is appropriate, imagine how your grandmother would react to it!
It may be a good idea to make your social media profiles private and adjust your settings to limit which tagged posts appear on your feed.
Share Your Interests
We make these points to caution you, but that should not take away from the fun of social media. While some employers found reasons not to hire someone, others said they found reasons to hire a job candidate.
Employers recognize that a good atmosphere is made of more than just people who qualify for a job. Company culture, team bonding and water-cooler conversations are an important part of the workplace.
When you share about your accomplishments, hobbies and relationships online, it gives employers a glimpse into your personality and passions. Present yourself as the dynamic, likable person that you are, and your social media presence will leave a positive impression.
Maximize Each Platform’s Potential
Each social media platform is different, and you should engage with them accordingly. While Facebook and TikTok are ideal for creating and consuming personal content, LinkedIn maintains a professional status.
If you do not have a LinkedIn account, create one for free. The platform is free and can act as a second resume when you are on the job hunt. Your LinkedIn profile should feature a professional headshot, your title or a catchy headline and a short bio that briefly tells who you are and what job you have or are looking for. List your job experience, credentials and skills.
Your LinkedIn content should primarily focus on your professional achievements and industry-related interests. This is a fantastic place to promote blogs and work samples and engage with like-minded individuals. Expand your network by connecting with local professionals, fellow alumni and industry peers. Additionally, LinkedIn is a great place to find job postings and research companies.
Twitter and Instagram are also optimal platforms for sharing your professional passions. If you are interested in art and design, share photos of your work on Instagram. Likewise, if you want to be a writer, promote your pieces on Twitter. If you don’t want to post these on your personal profile, create a second account where your work is the primary focus. You can find niche audiences for almost any hobby you have—from cooking and fishing to traveling and interior design, so capitalize on those interests by creating a following.
Keep An Active Profile
Understandably, social media can seem like a lot to maintain. Some people never complete a profile, and others delete their accounts or left them sitting idle. However, we would encourage you to create and maintain active social media profiles.
There is information about everyone on the internet. Try Googling your name and see what results pop up on the first few pages. By keeping an active social media profile, you are establishing an online presence and pushing your accounts to the top of the search engine results page. In doing this, you can better control what people’s first impressions are of you, which is important in the job search process.
Additionally, employers may question your authenticity if they cannot find you online. It is rare for a Gen Z or Millennial job candidate to not be on social media, and some employers reported deciding to not hire someone if they could not find the candidate online.
Some career fields heavily rely on social media to make connections and sales, such as Real Estate, Financial Services and Marketing. Other fields, such as IT & Innovation, may look into one’s social media profiles to see how tech-savvy they are. Sharing engaging content online can improve your personal brand and help you be successful in your career.
Since it is likely that employers will search you on social media, use this to your advantage! Create genuine and appealing profiles that feature your personality and interests—both personal and professional—so that you can make a great impression and land your dream interview.