We live in the most digital era yet, where information about everything is instantly and readily available. That’s all well and good, except that your personal information is also instantly and readily available to your potential employers.
Yes, employers are increasingly relying on social media platforms to gain insights into prospective candidates, paying close attention not only to perpetually available online resumes but also to what prospective candidates post in their free time. Fair? Perhaps not, but this has been happening for years now, nonetheless.
To maximize your chances of landing your dream job, it’s crucial to ensure your online presence is employer-friendly. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive checklist to help you edit your social media profiles and make them more positive and professional.
Review Your Privacy Settings
Start by Googling yourself (while in incognito mode) and checking the top hits like your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, etc. Put yourself in your potential employer’s shoes – what do they see when they Google your name, and what would they make of the available information?
Generally speaking, it’s best to limit access to your private social media accounts so that when other people (or companies) search your name or email address, they can only see your username and profile picture.
If you use social media for work only (meaning you’re very careful about what you post online and you don’t share personal information), feel free to leave or make more of your content publicly visible. Even then, it’s good to be highly selective about what information you share with others you do not know.
Pay Special Attention to Your Profile Picture
It may not be pretty, but people do judge others by their covers, or in this case, their profile pictures. Ask yourself: What impression does your current profile picture give to your prospective employer?
Your profile picture is one of the first things your potential employer will see when they Google your name, so make sure it is clear and professional. Since high-quality photos tend to make a better impression, you may want to increase your photos’ resolution for a sharper and more professional appearance.
Case in point: A study from The Ladders found that recruiters on LinkedIn spend only about 6 seconds looking at a profile but 19% of that time is spent looking at the user’s profile picture. First impressions clearly matter!
Delete or Untag Inappropriate Content
Good pictures matter, but so do the bad ones. Do you really want your future employer to see the photos of your crazy night outs while drinking? Take charge of any pictures of yourself online and delete or untag whatever seems inappropriate or offensive.
While you’re at it, also review and delete any controversial or unprofessional comments you have left on other people’s social media. Remove anything that could be deemed offensive or inappropriate, whether that’s pictures, posts, comments, or replies. It’s crucial to curate a positive image that reflects your personality but also your professionalism.
Showcase Your Achievements
Curating your online image is not only about removing negative or inappropriate content from your social media accounts – it’s also about highlighting your accomplishments and credibility on topics that matter to you professionally or personally.
Use your posts or specific sections of your profile to showcase your achievements and demonstrate your expertise. Make the relevant posts public when applicable and share your successes to create a well-rounded image of your skills and aspirations.
You may also want to follow and engage with thought leaders in your desired field. This can help demonstrate your interests and knowledge in the industry. Plus, you’ll stay updated on trends and gain valuable insights.
Share Your Personal Interests
Speaking of showcasing your accomplishments, it’s also a good idea to share your personal interests. It’s rare for people’s online personas to match their offline personas, but if your passion and education match your professional goals, make sure your social media reflects that, especially your LinkedIn.
By actively sharing and engaging with content related to your professional interests, you’ll build a positive narrative around your personality and position yourself as someone knowledgeable in your chosen industry.
Final Review and Application
Finally, when you’re done editing your social media profiles, take one last review of every single profile of yours before submitting your job application along with your cover letter. Ensure that all the changes and edits have been made and your online presence is aligned with your professional goals.
Keep in mind, potential employers may still come across your profiles, even if you make them private. So, double-check that you’ve hidden or deleted any embarrassing or inappropriate photos and posts before submitting any application. Remember, you want to make a positive and professional impression even before you have a chance to talk to your future employer!