According to Online Colleges Columnist Michael Lemaire, 37% employers use social media to research job candidates. Let that sink in. I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites such as the popular Pinterest or even YouTube. Why should this scare you a little? Well, hiring managers say they’re using social media to discover more than what is usually revealed during a traditional interview.
Allow me to attest for the majority of college students out there regarding Facebook and Twitter—employers, on many occasions, will be seeing the things potential employees actually try to hide in interviews. Even more serious for us students—65% of employers use social media sites to see if the candidate presents himself/herself professionally. Professionally? This calls for some editing.
However, this study also reports that 79% of college students are likely conformable with their online profiles being reviewed because they’ve cleaned up their pages and created professional profile. Here are some easy things you can do to improve your social media presence:
- Make your profile picture appropriate and mature—this is your first impression to employers.
- Edit your info page—consider what an employer may think about quotes or interests. Use this section to portray the real you. Include details like your education, major, and what you want to do in the future. Consider this especially when using LinkedIn.This trendy professionalsocial media site drives 9 times as many job applications as Facebook. Check out this research by Bullhorn Reach for a more in depth understanding of social media and its impact upon potential employers.
- Tune into what your wall posts and status updates say about you—even the most seemingly innocent status can seem completely juvenile to a potential employer. Think of how the outside viewer sees your inside joke with friends or family.
- Consider your relationship status—this private information is okay to provide as long as it isn’t a joke. Be careful not to possibly offend anybody looking at your profile.
- If you’re not willing to make these types of changes, make your profile private—it’s better to hide pictures or postings than risk it.
Use social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn to your advantage. This is an opportunity to make a great first impression on a potential employer. Treat your profile like a resume—post insightful comments or share current event. Show that you are active in the social media world without being obnoxious or immature. Invite employers to see the great things about you— such as your education, skills, and interests. Ultimately, create a social media presence you can be proud of. Don’t let your Facebook be your own worst enemy.