What does the internet tell employers about you? Ten tips for managing your social media for the job search
So, I am not quite sure when recruitment agencies became detective agencies, or when having your photo published in the local paper’s Out and About page stopped being the only way to have a social media presence. But, having recently found myself looking for a new career, and wondering why my awesome CV wasn’t getting the interviews it should, I decided to ask Dr Google what I was doing wrong. Turns out that believing your social media footprint is no one else’s business but yours is fake news.
I dived down the rabbit hole that is a Google search on career advice and NEWS FLASH – if your CV is awesome but you are not getting a foot in the door, it might be because of what the internet is saying about you…
According to the Careers NZ website, 70% of employers will check out an applicant’s social media presence before offering a candidate an interview.
So what can you do about it? A lot as it turns out. The following top ten tips are the result of several hours of scouring the internet for advice that a) did not contradict itself and b) was compiled by people in the know, recruitment agencies and the gatekeepers to your future salary.
So here is what the experts have to say, paraphrased by me, ‘cause plagiarism is not my middle name.
#1. Remember that time..
Bit of a no brainer this one, but be sure to make sure there is nothing out there in the public realm that requires justification, or would make your granny blush. This also goes for that time you had a twitter rant whilst drunk/high/sleep-deprived and called someone something which was not very nice. Check your Facebook settings, in particular, for any photos you may have been tagged in that seemed funny at the time when you were 14, but now that you have a fully developed frontal cortex, you might consider inappropriate.
#2. Nom de plumes are no longer de rigeuer
Once upon a time the only way a woman could get her story published was to write under an assumed name – true story. But thank goodness, we have all moved on from that crap. It is now ok to publish under your own name. In fact, if what you have said online is relevant to the position you are applying for, then it is imperative that you use your real name so that potential employers can see it too (if only trolls would follow this advice)!
#3. Remember you are a professional
So what you put out there in the public domain should be too. Profanity and rants not backed up by facts are only ok if you already have an income that allows you to never to have to work again.
#4. Think about what your “brand” is.
Clearly, Australian broadcaster Alan Jones, does not think his brand is climate change advocate. Because if he did, then he might be thinking twice about how he promotes “brand Jones”. Now I am not a fan of commercialising one’s personality, but when the whole world really is a stage thanks to technology, it makes sense to ensure your online persona matches the qualities a recruiter is looking for in a candidate.
#5. Link it baby
Make sure your public profiles are linked and consistent in what they say about you. i.e. if you have a public Facebook profile then make sure it also contains a link to your Linkedin profile, twitter handle, Instagram, website blog etc. Follow organisations that you want to work for, and like/share what they have posted in your own newsfeed.
#6. #What not to tweet
Keep your tweets professional and relevant. Most employers don’t want to hire a troll, nor do they want someone who spends most of the day tweeting their every thought. Unless you are being paid to tweet, less is more. Never communicate with a potential employer about a specific role via a social media post either. They provide a phone number and an email address for a reason.
#7. Keep it fresh
If you do decide to be on Twitter, Instagram, have a public Facebook page etc., then use it. Yes, I know, point number 6 warned against posting too much. But not keeping your social media profiles up to date e.g. you last posted in 2011, can be considered just as bad (I am guilty of this).
Delete posts that are no longer relevant or that with time/new knowledge has meant you now think differently about them.
#8. Choose your platforms wisely
If you don’t have time to keep them all up to date then be selective in the platforms you do choose to be on. If you only use Facebook to stalk your ex, then keep your profile private! Keep your public social media accounts relevant to the industries you want to work in e.g. if you want to work in media it will pay to have a Twitter/Reddit account so you can keep an eye on events as they happen (do check your sources are real/reliable first though).
#9. Do the hard work yourself
Similar to point number 5 in that your public social media accounts should be linked, also make sure you provide links to relevant companies that you have worked for previously, or research/volunteer work that you are proud of. The less work the recruitment agency has to do to find out you are awesome, the better.
#10. You gotta know when to shout out and know when to shut up
Know when to enter a twitter war and when it might be best to not give a damn if the dress is blue or grey. At least in the public domain. Bernard Meltzer really foretold the internet when he wrote-
“Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.”
So there we go, ten tips to help your social media presence score you that dream job. Let me know in the comments if they worked for you too!
About Carolyn Brown
Carolyn enjoys writing stuff that engages readers, makes them feel like they are in a conversation with the screen, and doesn’t require a dictionary on standby to make sense of what she has written.
When she is not creating content, she likes to keep busy volunteering for various not for profits; throwing sticks to her step-dog as they walk along North Beach in Christchurch, and enjoying the company of friends. If you would like to know more, head on over to her website www.writecopynz.co.nz or email her at [email protected]