Whether you’re using social media in your job search or not, employers are using it to screen applicants. This means that, as much as you may resist it, your social media profiles play an important role in your job search. But what, exactly, are they telling employers about you as a person and a professional?
Depending on whether or not you’ve cleaned up your social media profiles — and we mean Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and any other profile that can be found of you online — they could be telling employers that you’re a well-rounded individual that should remain in the running for a job. Or, on the flipside, they might be saying to employers all sorts of things you’d rather they not know.
Not sure what your Internet image is saying about you? Here are some possibilities.
“I want employers to know about me in any way they can find me.”
This can be a very good thing, provided that you’ve updated all your social media profiles and posts to be very employer-friendly. It makes it easier for an employer to learn a lot about you in a short amount of time, and as long as the information is all aboveboard, interesting, and professionally relevant, it’ll paint a clearer picture of you as a potential employee.
“I’m a private person and like to maintain that privacy.”
This isn’t such a bad thing for employers to find out about you. If your privacy settings are set to the maximum level for sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, employers shouldn’t be able to see anything about you on those sites. The only problem is that these sites tend to make changes to their privacy settings on a regular basis, so make sure you check your settings monthly to keep them at their highest levels.
“I’m at least savvy enough of a job seeker to have a LinkedIn profile.”
Having a LinkedIn account is a bare-minimum requirement for most job seekers. When an employer does a keyword search for your name, if you have a LinkedIn profile, it should be one of the first search results to come up. This is fantastic because employers are immediately rewarded with your professional Internet image, rather than the less-than-professional profiles you might have on other social media sites.
“Employers are looking for me on social media? Uh oh.”
This is, of course, the least desirable message you want your Internet image to send to employers. This message is clear to employers when your profiles are easily accessible (as in, your privacy settings are not set properly) but they’re not at all employer-friendly. If an employer can see your latest non-professional posts on Facebook, questionable pictures on Instagram or Pinterest, and rants on Twitter, but you don’t know they can be seen, you’re likely being passed up for jobs without even knowing it.
No matter what your philosophy is on using social media in your job search, take five minutes to set your privacy levels to the highest possible on each social media site, or to make sure that the content you’re posting is completely appropriate for potential employers to see. Finally, make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out completely and as up-to-date as possible and you’ll be able to turn your Internet image into a bonus for your job application, rather than the digital equivalent of a bad friend who gossips about you behind your back.
Brie Weiler Reynolds is the Director of Content and Community at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Brie provides career and job search advice through theFlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.co m.
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