What does your Facebook page say about you? Up until this point, you’ve probably used your social media pages to build up an image of yourself as a fun, cool person outside of work. However, if you then find yourself suddenly out of a job, you may find yourself in the uncomfortable situation where your personal life suddenly becomes public when your prospective new company runs a Google search on you before, or (if you’re really unlucky), during your job interview.
In this age of technology, the first place most hiring managers go for information about applicants is the internet. By now, everyone knows that they should keep their wild party pictures set to ‘private’ so that future employers don’t get the wrong impression, but maintaining a good image on social media extends beyond damage control. When used correctly, social media can set you apart from your peers in a positive way.
Below are some easy tips to maximize your social media profiles in order to stand out to recruiters:
1. Have a personality —This may seem obvious, but don’t become so obsessed with hiding anything that you don’t think portrays you as professional and you come across as fake or shallow. Don’t be afraid to list job-relevant interests on your Facebook page, and if you have hobbies that are fun or out of the ordinary, let recruiters see them on Instagram or Pinterest. Let your sense of style come through. Recruiters are looking for three-dimensional employees, not corporate drones with no life outside of the office.
2. Keep information up-to-date —Make sure that your social media profiles reflect your current skills and achievements. An out-of-date or abandoned profile could give the wrong impression, particularly if your job position involves a social networking aspect, such as maintaining the company blog. Employers may wonder what you’re hiding. Make sure to delete old or duplicate accounts so that the hiring manager ends up on your most current profile.
3. Network —Just like in real life, online professional connections are important to your job search. Connect with old classmates, and seek out your old co-workers and managers, even those who you may not have seen eye-to-eye with in the past. You never know when having an online connection will lead to a surprising job opportunity. The internet makes a small world even smaller by connecting people and organizations; use this to your benefit.
4. Make your objectives clear – The most powerful social media profiles are ones that reflect interests applicable to the field you want to pursue. For instance, someone interested in education would get top points if recruiters discover that they run a blog about local news in the world of education. This shows a genuine passion for their field outside of work, which is impressive to employers.
5. Don’t spread yourself too thin —Quality trumps quantity when it comes to an online presence. Manage your accounts carefully, and make sure that each one has a purpose. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus can all be useful tools, but don’t go crazy and sign up for dozens of accounts, each one dedicated to one of your 50 interests. Pick one and work on it daily to make it the best that it possibly can be.
6. Check what others see —It’s a good idea to do a basic internet search on yourself now and then, to make sure that the results are positive. If old high-school blogs or outdated social media profiles pop up, delete them so you don’t give the wrong impression to recruiters.
7. Follow up with your blog readers —Make sure you always respond in a timely fashion to comments or questions that site visitors leave. Following up promptly is professional and shows an interest in others. Don’t be afraid to leave comments on the profiles of your viewers as well.
8. Make content attractive —It may seem obvious, but having unreadable yellow text on a white background, or plastering a dozen moving GIF images on your homepage can make your sites unappealing to visitors. Videos and pictures are great ways to engage viewers, but posting too much multimedia content can cause pages to load slowly and can annoy people rather than entice them.
9. Pay attention to the details —The little things, like crafting a witty, genuine “About Me” section and proofreading the spelling on your profiles, count for a lot to recruiters. Be diligent with details to make a good first impression. After all, you never know who might end up reading your Twitter page.
10. Work to attract more followers —Updating blogs regularly, posting questions, pictures and comments that people can engage with is a good idea to make sure your profiles get decent traffic. You never know when a visitor to your site can help you form a new connection or lead to an unexpected career opportunity.