How to Clean Up Your Social Media for a Job Search

With Facebook's 10th Birthday over a year gone, we're officially past the introduction to social media. In a world where social has moved from keeping up with friends to defining our personalities and acting as our first impression...isn't it time for a clean up? Whether you're thinking of searching for a new job or just starting to submit your resume, there's now another thing to worry about before you even get a call to schedule an interview: The Social Media Pre-Screen.

What Mark Zuckerberg Never Saw Coming

We’re not talking about a pre-interview that takes place with your potential employer via Facebook Messenger. Social media pre-screening takes place without you even knowing. If you have a LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, or Facebook page and have applied for a job recently, you can expect that they have all been checked out by the hiring manager, HR rep, or recruiter you submitted your resume to.

A majority of hiring companies are now using social media networks to vet job applicants. "And while many of you might think that this is a devious practice that smacks a little of Orwell’s 1984 and Big Brother, it actually makes a lot of sense," Freelance Writer Vince F. wrote for us back in 2013. With the current cost of hiring a bad fit and a surge of people looking for work in up and coming fields, recruiters are having to get creative in order to find the truly remarkable job candidates. Social media is their number one way to do that. In fact, while statistics vary, around 90% of all employers are now using social media to to pre-screen candidates.

Not sure if your social profiles are ready for that? Get a head start on that New Year/New Job resolution and clean up your social media.

How to Nail the Social Media Pre-Screen

Being aware of social media pre-screening is your first tip for success. Like getting a heads-up that an inspection is coming your way, you can clean up your social media and make yourself look pretty presentable – not to mention, hireable – when prospective employers come Facebook Stalking. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that:

How to Clean Up Your Social Media

  • Show Them You Know Your Field
    Don’t waste time and space using all your updates to tweet about the season finale of The Bachelor. Be proactive with the majority of your tweets, Facebook posts, and most definitely all of your LinkedIn updates. If you’re looking for work as a web designer, share information that lets people know you’re up to speed with current web design trends. Tweet breaking industry news and projects you've been working on too.
  • Follow the "Rule of Thirds"
    When you're thinking of content to share on your various social platforms follow this adapted formula from Hootsuite for maximum success:
    - ⅓ of your social content should promote yourself, your work, your business, etc
    - ⅓ shares ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses
    - ⅓ should be based on personal interactions and build your personal brand
  • Humble Brag
    Don't be overly boastful, but do humbly talk yourself up. Play to your strengths by showing your knowledge about various facets of your industry. Did you write a great blog for a new client? Share and retweet it.
  • Be (nicely) Opinionated
    Your knowledge on industry issues is only a part of your appeal to a recruiter. You also have to be able to state your opinion on issues of importance to display you have working knowledge of your industry, but do so respectfully. It may seem as though bullies have an advantage, but they tend not to last long.
  • Don't Bad Mouth
    One of the biggest "social media sins" many tend to commit is talking poorly about employers (past or present) or colleagues. Don’t expect anyone to hire you if you do this frequently. Nobody wants to bring an employee on board who may potentially trash talk them online a week after being hired. Keep the ranting online.
  • PG-13 Pictures only Please
    While potential employers should not let your photos determine if they call you in for an interview or not, it's best to err on the safe side and avoid any inflammatory photos. Look back through your profile to those early college photos and take remove the keg stand photos along with any of these types of posts. Better yet, lock down your privacy settings.

Getting a job is even harder now in the age of social, but If you follow these tips, you'll be sailing past the "social media pre-screen" and into the interview process. Ready to clean up your social media? Not sure if your profiles are up to snuff? Submit your resume to our recruiters or contact us today, we're ready to help!

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