Avoiding Social Pitfalls that Could Cost You a Job Offer
If you count yourself among the women planning to change jobs in the near future, you ought to prepare for what that will entail. Newsflash! Your social profiles are part of your resume, even if social media did not exist when you last applied for a job.
According to Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey 2014, “93% of recruiters use or plan to use social to support their recruiting efforts.”
Where are recruiters looking for information about job candidates?
Everywhere. Jobvite reports data for the following social platforms:
- LinkedIn: 94%
- Facebook: 66%
- Twitter: 52%
- Google+: 21%
- YouTube: 15%
What positives are recruiters looking for?
Recruiters can find stronger candidates more quickly via social media. Through mutual social connections, a recruiter can discover answers to questions he or she might not be able to ask in your interview. They can evaluate work that the job candidate has done and posted to social sites. Recruiters get a feel for who you are as a candidate by looking for where and how often you volunteer your time, and how much money you donate to causes.
What negatives might discourage or make a recruiter reconsider a candidate?
Some biggies include profanity, spelling and grammar mistakes (Do you really hold a degree from Harvard?), illegal drug references, and posts riddled with sexual innuendo. They could become wary because of alcohol or drug references, and recruiters will definitely double take at the Instagram photos of the trashed version of you at the company Christmas party Greek-dancing on a table. Even though your friends respect your political beliefs, a potential employer may think they make you a less-than-ideal fit for their company climate. To top it off, unless your job title is social media director, if you post 100 status updates per day on Facebook or 10 tweets an hour on Twitter, a recruiter might see you as potentially wasting company time.
What can a job seeker do?
A deep clean up of your web presence can yield big results during your job hunt. Start with a Google search of…yourself. What do you see? If the search yields anything unflattering, no problem, just take care of it ASAP.
What should you scrub?
Every picture tells a story. Are the photos of you flattering? Do they make you look professional, family oriented, a volunteer, or a partier. Either remove the unflattering photos or change your photo settings to keep private things, private. If someone tagged you in a photo, remove the tag. If they posted it to your Facebook wall, you will need to remove the post entirely.
Change your Tone.Don’t come across as angry, sullen or whiny. Those posts that your friends “like” about hating your boss, your life and your husband, or complain incessantly about conditions in general, might make recruiters see you as a perpetual squeaky wheel. Instead, paint a positive picture of yourself through uplifting messages or interesting information that demonstrates your insight in your industry.
How can you enhance your image?
Set the table for the banquet, and then invite the recruiters to feast. Begin with your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, get one. If 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to recruit, they might get to another candidate first and never consider you. Make sure your LinkedIn table is laden with detailed accounts of your work experience that truly demonstrates the expertise you will bring to a new position. Include your interests and outside activities as well that show how well rounded you are. If you do not want to police your Facebook page for potential deterents, create a professional persona on Facebook and set your personal page to private. Don’t forget to spend some time on the accounts you rarely use so that they present a more refined “you;” double check your Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, YouTube, and Flickr accounts.
If you lost your job and need to move quickly, or you are already in the midst of a job search and have not already sanitized your social presence, never fear. You can usually temorarily suspend your account to take it off the table until you have an opportunity to clean it up. In other words, don’t wait until dessert is ready to begin serving the main course. Work your way down the list from a quick Google search, then on to each social media platform. Going forward, devote some time every month or two to checking your online image to ensure your online presence shows you as a valuable asset, not a costly liability.15