Eight (3+5) ways to use and not to use Social Media Accounts for Job Hunting
Social media is used a lot in our everyday life and provides the ability to share information about what your passions, connect with friends and more. Jobseekers need to understand that many employers check social media to learn more about potential employees. Before applying for a job, review your social media for any content that could raise concerns.
Note: If you don’t want to change what is on your social media accounts, consider making your current account private and create a second more professional public online presence. In addition, be sure to check if you are tagged in any potentially unflattering photos or posts by friends or family members and ask them to remove the tag or make the photo private.
Three ways to use social media during a job search:
- Display creativity- If your social media is professional, there is no problem with maintaining a public profile and it can even add to your application. When applying for a job in a creative field, such as marketing or communications, a well-run social media account is a great way to demonstrate strong communication and creative skills. Social media management is also a key responsibility for many jobs, and a well-run social media account shows capability and experience in this important skill.
- Network & build a brand - LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to make posts which can show interest in your career field, provide updates on your latest accomplishments, and why you would be a good hire. You can also seek out and contact leaders in your chosen field. Over time, you can help build a brand in the industry and demonstrate your skills. This can confirm to employers that your interest and excitement about the field is real.
- Keep up to date - By following the feeds of people currently working in your chosen industry, you can learn more about a career and the industry itself. Interacting with others and sharing recent and emerging trends, articles, or studies is a great way to stay current and supplement your education. It also gives you a lot of information to talk about in an interview.
Five ways to put up red flags to employers in your social media feeds:
- Unprofessional content - Delete or mark private any unprofessional photos. Social media is meant to be fun, remember that social media is public unless you mark it as private. What you post can be reviewed by anyone, including potential employers, and job seekers want to project a professional image. Photos of you partying or engaging in unprofessional or extreme behavior could be an immediate concern for a potential employer.
- Divisive or Political Content - Political or divisive social commentary has the potential to alienate a prospective employer. You can have your own opinions but consider keeping political comments private or not including it on public social media accounts.
- Unprofessional Interactions - Be sure that all interactions with other users are positive. Behavior that comes across as rude or negative, even if intended in a joking manner, could be viewed negatively by a potential employer.
- Grammar or Spelling Errors - Remember you want to appear professional and as a good candidate. Posts which display poor writing skills could leave a bad impression with a potential employer.
- Conflicts with Resume or Cover Letter - Your cover letter and resume make up the first impression with a potential employer, but any social media posts or behavior which seem in conflict with the information included on them can raise questions about your background and trustworthiness to an employer.