Job seekers with many years of experience often overlook the importance of their social media presence when job hunting. However, hiring managers have increasingly used social media to evaluate potential employees. According to a study conducted by CareerBuilder in 2018, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process.
It is critical to learn how to shape your online presence to your advantage and leverage it to land your desired role.
- Evaluate Your Online Persona – Google yourself. This will help you determine your online persona and whether it presents you in the way you want to be perceived. Make sure the images and videos that appear across all social channels are appropriate, and remove the content that is not. Many prospective employees opt to delete or deactivate their accounts when, in fact, 47% of employers have said they won’t interview an applicant if they can’t find them online. Remember, this is a social media cleanup, not a complete removal of your online presence. Instead, use your social accounts to boost your professional brand and prove that you would be a valuable asset to any company.
- Build Your LinkedIn – 58% of employers conduct social screenings to look for information that supports a candidate’s qualifications for the job — and one of the first places they will turn is LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is accurate and updated and that your picture is appropriate. You should have a LinkedIn profile that represents you and reflects your desired profession. Post or share content related to your field of work to show your continued passion for and knowledge of the space.
- Connect with Like-Minded People – It’s often said the company you keep reflects the person that you are. This transfers to social media connections as well. Be wary of who you connect with and consider if you want to be associated with the content they post. 34% of employers look for what other people post about the candidate, so make sure their comments reflect the image you want to portray. Finally, connect with your target companies on every platform to demonstrate your genuine interest in them. The information you gather from their social channels may prove useful in an interview.
- Check Your Privacy Settings – It’s entirely up to you whether your social media accounts are private or public. There are pros and cons to both, especially depending on the type of platform. On LinkedIn, for example, it can be difficult for employers to find you if your data is protected. Those of you with public accounts can leverage this to market your interests, qualifications, and capabilities that are relevant to your field. With that said, it’s important to remember every piece of content that is made public, not just your main page. Private accounts do indeed place barriers on information you don’t want released to the public. However, keep in mind that nothing is really private anymore. So, as a general rule of thumb, always be careful about what you post.
- Share Your Wins – One of the best ways to build your professional brand is to share your accomplishments. When you receive an award, certificate, or promotion, share this with your online network, especially with your connections on LinkedIn. This will further establish your expertise in your field and will speak to your dedication to improving yourself professionally and personally.