Although social media scare stories are plentiful in the media, new research shows that many people still don’t think employers will look at their online lives.
According to the survey, one-third of job-hunters don’t think employers will look at their social media profiles – but while no employer should make a hiring decision based entirely on what they see online, there’s no denying that it’s easy for an employer to find out a huge amount about you with just a quick search.
Fortunately, the majority of people were well aware of this and over half said they change their privacy settings when job searching, eager to make sure that personal information does not influence their chances of success in finding a new job. Only a small amount of those surveyed admitted editing content and un-tagging photos of themselves posted online when looking for a job.
Used well, social media can be a valuable tool for job-hunters, but employers are looking for someone who stands out for the right reasons.
Developing your personal brand may not be your priority when you’re busy studying for exams, but there are simple steps you can take to make sure your online footprint is a good reflection of what you can offer to an employer.
Building up an online network takes time, so add new contacts as you make them, and make sure you keep your information up-to-date as you change job titles and gain qualifications and experience. LinkedIn is a valuable tool when doing this and is used more frequently by recruiters and employers alike when searching for particular profiles.
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, starting a blog or engaging with industry figures on Twitter might be right for you, but you will need to commit to maintaining a consistent, professional profile.
However, 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 and think carefully about what you post.
Social media is a growing part of recruitment, but a sensible jobseeker will make sure that their profile complements, rather than detracts from, traditional networking methods and job applications.