You polish up your resume and LinkedIn profile and you write an impeccable cover letter hoping to get the attention of an employer. Of course, you’re supposed to do all that. However, it’s not enough. Do you realize that your profiles on social media platforms are also important? What impression would a potential employer get if he decided to check your Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter presence? If you leave these pages unattended, you put yourself at risk of missing chances for interviews.
Emily Asher, head of Freelance HR Department of Australian Writings Pty Ltd, explains how the online reputation of the candidates affects the decisions of her company’s human resource department. “Social media gives us all [the] information we could possibly need. When we get applications from freelance writers who want to work for our company, we evaluate their skills and check the degree they have obtained. We do not stop there, though! It’s important for us to get a hint of an applicant’s personality, which is why we make sure to evaluate his/her presence on social media,” – Asher explains.
Show Your True Personality through Social Media Profiles
When a potential employer takes a look at your application documents, they get important information about your education, experience and skills. You also offer bits of information about your interests, but the hiring manager does not get a complete impression of your personality through these documents alone.
“When I take a look at someone’s Facebook profile, I understand who I’m dealing with. Did the candidate share posts that prove how serious he is about the interests he listed in the resume? Did he share some of his own articles? We are dealing with writers, so it’s important for us to see how their work has been accepted by the audience. Do they get comments and shares? It’s also important for me to make sure that the applicant shows a high level of literacy, even on social media,” – Asher says. “I know these updates are usually written in a hurry, but that doesn’t mean I would interview someone whose posts are full of embarrassing mistakes.”
Can you imagine what impression you would make with a profile full of improperly-written posts? Basic literacy is necessary even when you’re using social media to communicate with your friends. Maybe you’re wondering if you should make your profiles extremely private, or even delete them from the Web altogether. Ms. Asher doesn’t think that’s the best decision.
“We usually check a candidate’s Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn profile before we proceed further with the hiring process. It’s a bit disappointing when we don’t find the information we’re after. Personally, I always give an advantage to the applicants with great online presence over the ones who remain completely anonymous,” – she says.
Tips for Job Seekers: How to Improve Your Social Media Presence
If you follow these tips, you’ll end up with profiles that will make you a more appealing candidate for any hiring manager.
1. Provide enough information!
LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms are very useful tools for recruiters. These professionals scan social media hunting for the perfect employees for particular positions. That’s why you need to fill your bio with enough information about your education, professional experience and interests. Don’t forget to include an email address.
2. Include a professional email address
Speaking of the email address, you don’t want to provide something like firstname.lastname@example.org. You will certainly be ignored and laughed at if an employer encounters such failure at your social media profiles. Your username should include your name or some kind of variation that looks professional. Another thing—choose a decent email provider.
3. Don’t be aggressive!
What’s your first instinct when you come across political opinions you don’t agree with? If you’re passionate about politics or anything else, you probably want to humiliate the other person and get into an offensive discussion. Do not do that! Do not attack other people because of their religious, political, cultural, or social beliefs. If a hiring manager sees something like that on your profile, you can kiss your chance at employment goodbye.
4. Adjust the privacy of your photos!
You don’t want a potential employer to see all wild photos you’re tagged in. Make sure your Facebook timeline presents you as a responsible individual who would be a perfect choice for the position you applied to. Would you hire someone whose profile is full of party photos?
Leave only the ones that would make you an appealing candidate for any hiring manager who decides to check your public profile. A photo cleanup is one of the most important things a job hunter is supposed to do!
5. Check your online reputation!
You’ve surely Googled yourself before. Now, do that with a purpose: see whether or not the information this search engine launches makes you worthy for an interview invitation. Most employers check the online reputation of the candidates before inviting some of them for an interview.
When you clean up your social media profiles, you can’t get rid of everything. If you left some inappropriate comments on someone else’s update, they will be visible for someone who conducts a Google search of your name. Prepare yourself! Examine what the search engine knows about you and fix the issues before they cause damage. Take all compromising comments and photos down.
Is there someone else with your name? Unfortunately, you cannot take their profiles down, but you can include a photo in your resume, so the employer will recognize the difference.
6. Pay attention to grammar! It’s more important than you realize.
Yes, Twitter limits you to short phrases, and you don’t want to bore your Facebook friends with ‘eloquent’ status updates, but that doesn’t mean you should forget all about proper grammar when you post on social media. When a potential employer notices a silly mistake, he won’t justify it with the thought that you were probably in a hurry. He will simply notice that you’re not careful enough. Make sure to check the grammar, spelling and punctuation of every single update on your profiles.
7. Think about your privacy!
You don’t want to make everything private, since hiring managers don’t like seeing blank profiles. However, that doesn’t mean you should make all posts public. Facebook enables people to go through your timeline, so you probably want to hide those embarrassing updates from the beginnings of your social networking adventure. Clean up the timeline and make sure your public page would be appealing for a potential employer.
Your Online Reputation Can Make or Break a Deal!
All hiring managers like to learn something more about the best candidates before hiring them. Most of them decide to browse through social media platforms. This free information gives them insight into your personality. If your profiles show you as an inattentive person who posts nasty comments and trolls all over social media, you won’t stand a chance. At this point, your resume and cover letter will be irrelevant—even if they are great.
You have to build a great online reputation! Start by implementing the 7 tips described above.