Social media is now a valuable tool for both employers and job hunters. Recent research shows that there are more devices connected to the Internet than there are people on Earth, most people socialise more online than they do face-to-face and thousands of pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute.
But, despite this, it appears that many people still don’t think employers will look at their online lives. Or, they hope they won’t…While no employer should make a hiring decision based entirely on what they see online, there’s no denying that it’s easy for them to find out a huge amount about you with just a quick search.
A survey of 2,000 UK employees and employers found that 46% of employees don’t know what prospective employers might be judging them on and are not sure whether their social media profiles would prevent them from getting a good job.
Here are a few simple steps all employees should take to make sure their online footprint is a good reflection of what they can offer to an employer:
Add new contacts as you make them, and keep your information up-to-date as you change job titles and gain qualifications and experience.
Think about what part you want your online presence to play in your job search. If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, then joining discussions groups on LinkedIn, starting a blog or engaging with industry figures on different social media channels might be right for you. Remember that, if you decide to do this, you will need to commit to maintaining a consistent, professional profile.
Make sure any public information is super clean and professional and try to create well-crafted, up-to-date accounts on each of your social media profiles. Consider editing content and un-tagging photos of yourselves if necessary.
Don’t forget about the images, especially your LinkedIn profile picture - you should have a clear, friendly, recent, and appropriately professional image.
Do share your professional social profiles with employers but don’t use them for job-search related communications.
If you just want to make sure that an employer who is tempted to check up on you online doesn’t see anything incriminating, then keep on top of your privacy settings.
Social media is a growing part of recruitment, but a sensible jobseeker will make sure their profile complements, rather than detracts their chances of success in finding a new job.
But employers are not the only ones who turn to social media for the inside track on potential employees. More than a quarter of candidates said they had Googled employees who worked at the company they were interviewing with, and 14% looked at employee profiles on LinkedIn. Also, more and more candidates are turning to sites like Glassdoor to search for reviews, salaries and benefits and to get a feel of a company’s culture.