Let’s face it: social media is a huge part of our digitally-obsessed culture. As a result, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can be a crucial professional branding tool when utilized correctly. But, just how important is your social media presence when job searching?
Turns out very. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. And this doesn’t stop at LinkedIn! Studies show that 85% of hiring managers use Facebook to research prospective candidates.
Since your social media presence is the image you portray to the world, it can often be the first impression you make on an employer. As a result, it can certainly help or hinder your job search.
Here are a few ways your social media presence might be the reason why you don’t land that dream job:
You aren’t online
With employers utilizing social media when hiring, not being active or searchable on these platforms can do more harm than good. For example, hiring managers will often turn to these sites to learn more about a candidate outside of their resume. If they can’t find a trace of you on social media, this may lead them to think that you’re not social media savvy (a key skill in today’s digital world) or you don’t care about your professional brand. As a result, you’ll at the very least want to get active on LinkedIn. Not only can it help you establish yourself as an industry thought leader, but it can also help you be found by employers looking for candidates with your skills and experience.
Avoid over-sharing your opinions
In addition to evaluating whether you are active on social media, employers may dig into what you’re posting or sharing. Since inappropriate content can immediately take you out of the running, you want to be careful when commenting or engaging with topics related to politics, excessive partying, and gender, racial, disability, and religious harassment. You should also avoid talking negatively about former employers. This could diminish your chances of landing the job because a prospective employer may fear you would do the same to them in the future, which is something that may give the company a negative reputation.
Be consistent and truthful
It’s important to be consistent in your social media presence and your resume, as well as things you say during an interview. If an employer decides to search your social networks and sees that you were a barista when you claimed to be an analyst, for example, it will likely cause some confusion about your background. Since these inconsistencies can diminish your chances of landing the job, you want to be completely honest about your background. To ensure you are coming across as an authentic candidate, sporadically try searching yourself on the internet to see what the public sees about your background. Keeping your social network image consistent with your career-life persona will allow employers to see the true candidate for the job.