In the age of social media, growing numbers of employers are searching for candidates online before they ever call them for an interview.
Employers screen candidates on social media for a number of reasons:
- Some employers find it interesting to learn about a candidate through their online profiles in addition to just their resume and cover letter.
- Some are looking to confirm the data you’ve given them in your application materials.
- Some are looking to see if you would be a professional representative of their company, especially if the role is a client- or public-focused position.
Here are some tips below…
Avoid these social media red flags
Two big red flags employers are looking for: either no online presence at all (even a basic LinkedIn profile) or inconsistent online profiles that either do not back up the information on a CV, or profiles that actually contradict information.
If you are actively submitting applications, make sure your online presence (including social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) is consistent with you as a professional.
No social media presence at all can be a red flag for employers because so many of today’s jobs are based in the knowledge economy, which requires a good amount of activity online. If an employer thinks you are not particularly active online, they may assume you are not up to date when it comes to skills and knowledge.
Use social media to your advantage
The good news is that social media actually provides an opportunity for you to stand out! On a CV, you are limited as to what you show employers. But online, you can create a very detailed portrait of yourself as a professional. Be sure to put yourself in the upmost professional spotlight, a polished photograph within a suitable work setting always goes down a treat.
The next few points offer some ideas to use social media to your advantage as a professional.
Your LinkedIn profile should go beyond descriptions of your jobs.
The Summary section is a fantastic place to stand out and show the value you bring to any organisation. Wondering what to fill that blank space with? How about answers to these questions:
What are your expertise areas?
Your best skills?
Your most valuable assets?
Why are you passionate about this industry or career field?
Also, include links to projects you have worked on and take advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform to write knowledgeable articles about the industry you work in, trends in the field, and anything else that can show you know your stuff.
On sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, consider showcasing your professional side more prominently.
Twitter, in particular, is a great place to interact with other professionals in your field in casual but memorable ways. And that includes recruiters and hiring managers!
But if you want to keep them strictly social, make sure your privacy settings are turned up to the highest level possible!
Don’t go crazy on social media after you’ve landed a job
Again, for better or for worse, we live in an era where everything is connected. Many teams operate in a way where co-workers, and even managers and workers, are connecting on social media.
If you decide to become “friends” with your boss on Facebook, you have to assume that they will see everything you post. And even if it’s unfair, they may associate your posts as a reflection of you as a professional.
Come up with a plan for connecting with coworkers and managers on social media (or not).
This completely depends on what you post on each social media channel. Think long and hard about how you use a channel like Facebook or Instagram before accepting a friend request from a coworker or boss. If there is even a slight chance they will see something offensive, inappropriate, or questionable from you, don’t accept the request.
You might also consider using one social media channel for professional connections and others for casual or friendly connections. For example, I use Twitter and LinkedIn almost exclusively for professional connections, but Facebook mainly for friends and family.
If you decide not to connect with work folks on social media, explain to your boss or coworker why you didn’t accept their request—that you only use that channel to connect with close friends or relatives—so they know you aren’t blowing them off or being rude.
Best of luck with your social media quest from hr inspire resourcing (feel free to connect with us!)