Have you ever been curious enough to Google your name to see the search results that pop up? While this might not seem like something you would want to do for fun, an increasing number of employers and hiring managers are relying more on such tactics, especially on social media, to gauge prospective candidates’ social conduct.
Since you never know exactly what an employer will be looking at, it would be a huge let down to be passed on for a role because one of your social media accounts raised some red flags. Taking the time before starting your job search to clean up anything that may portray you in a negative light will only help your odds of being hired. Whether you are starting from scratch to build your online personal brand, or trying to find ways to clean up your social media accounts, here are a number of things you should focus on before starting your job search:
- Your LinkedIn profile should be up to date
With approximately 450 million active members, hiring managers and employers alike are relying more on LinkedIn as a ‘one-stop shop’ to find and vet qualified candidates. While there are a number of LinkedIn blunders you should try to avoid, there are a number of steps you can take before embarking on your job search to ensure you can be easily found by prospective employers. For starters, you should upload a professional photo, update your skills and experience, and create an enticing ‘Headline’ and ‘Summary’. As a result, taking small steps like these before starting your job search will help your LinkedIn profile standout, which will increase your odds of getting noticed by a hiring manager.
- Change your settings to ‘private’
While most job seekers might want to immediately clean up their Facebook account since this hosts the widest variety of information that speaks to your personality, it’s important to first know what privacy settings you currently have in place. In other words, before you start deleting or untagging anything, change your privacy settings to ‘Private,’ which will ensure that any of the changes you do make won’t be visible to the public. Surely, if your background is in a creative space (i.e., marketing, retail, advertising, etc.) and you want to showcase your skills or your following, be mindful of what could be deemed as negative or inappropriate if it is public.
- Remove/update problematic content
Ask yourself, what kind of information would make you want to distance yourself from a prospective employee? While social media accounts serve as a great way for you to express your ideas and opinions, without given the proper context, some things can be misconstrued and work against you. For example, status updates or posts about religion, politics, or race, in general, are sensitive topics that could easily be perceived as offensive if someone didn’t really know you. Therefore, to avoid running into a hiring manager or interviewer who has conflicting views than yours, take the time before your job search to remove content that could be deemed inappropriate or insensitive. Along the same lines, take a look at your Twitter feeds/followers and Tumblr blogs to make sure they reflect the type of individual you want to be perceived as by employers.
- Clean up your inappropriate photos
We all know the old saying, “A picture says a thousand words,” and that couldn’t hold more weight for a prospective candidate starting their job search. While you may have had the best time during ‘spring break’ or a fun-filled vacation you never wanted to end, you want to make sure all the photo evidence of these experiences (if public) would be appropriate for a hiring manager to see. Therefore, be sure to take the time to untag yourself from inappropriate photos and remove any questionable images you are associated with from your account(s) to ensure your social media activity is consistent with the type of professional your prospective employer is looking to hire.