Clean Cut: Job Seekers Must Keep a Professional Social Media Presence

Clean Cut: Job Seekers Must Keep a Professional Social Media Presence

When organizations retain our firm to find top talent, we look for a candidate who has the best experience, skills, and potential for cultural fit. Cultural fit is key because organizations want to make sure their employees will thrive in the company’s culture. As such, one of the best ways to learn more about a candidate is by looking at his or her online presence.

While social media is one of our most beneficial forms of communication, there’s a time and place for everything. You never know who’s viewing your digital presence, but you can be sure someone is. If you’re a job candidate, recruiters and hiring managers will do their due diligence, and if we see anything sketchy on social media, we won’t be able to refer you to our clients in good faith. This is why I recommend you conduct this social media test before you post or comment online: would you show it to your employer, recruiter, or organization you want to interview with? If the answer is no, then stop.

Red Flags

As an executive recruiter, some of the red flags I see are photos with alcohol, inappropriate or racist language, postings that have a negative tone, and rude comments. Your social media presence is like an online resume, so bad spelling and grammar also raise a red flag. Another thing that can turn away a recruiter: posting too often. Documenting your every move doesn’t translate as professional.

Clean Up Tips

Cleaning up your social media presence is vital for job candidates, and it doesn’t take long. As this quick video explains, you can get started by conducting a  Google search on yourself and your social profiles. Go through many pages to see what’s out there and take time to delete. The expert in the video also recommends making your non-professional social profiles private. (You don’t necessarily have keep everything private. For some jobs, such as marketing positions, a social media presence is important.)  If you have a personal blog, it will show up in a search too, so revise anything that could be questionable or unprofessional.

When you’re reviewing your digital footprint, revise unsuitable language, eliminate curse words, and fix spelling/grammar mistakes. Take inventory of your photos and omit the ones that could be unfitting. Be sure to review and revise anything you’re tagged in, anything you’ve commented on, and any comments others have made about your posts. Also, look at the pages you’ve liked, as well as the people or causes you follow, and revise anything that could be misconstrued. This site can help you clean up your social media presence.

Most importantly, from this point forward, be mindful of what you put out into cyberspace. Resist the urge to engage in political or social debate. A little restraint can go a long way in your future, particularly when it comes to landing that incredible job. Remember, organizations hire people, and you are more than just your skills and experience. Even when you’re not at work, you’re representing your place of employment. This is 2016 and social media is a part of everyday life, and every day recruitment. Be smart and prudent—and put your best digital foot(print) forward.

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