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Social Media Spring Cleaning

Do you even remember when you got that Facebook or Instagram account? It was years ago, you were in college, high school, or middle school, and your social group in real life . At the time it was a method for staying in touch with friends, posting photos and sharing memes (and Tasty videos). You know, internet fluff.

Later on, you used it as an internet representation of yourself – meeting new people led you to connecting online, making new friends and expanding your social network. Someone could get a sense of the real you immediately upon pit-stopping on your page.

If all of your intentions were social, who would have thought that years later, your career could depend on how you've maintained these accounts? With almost half of employers (46%) checking social media accounts before hiring, it's clear that doing a quick social media cleanup pre-job search isn't just smart, it's necessary.

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The quick and easy solution seems obvious: make all accounts, posts, photos, and details private.

An employer can't be disappointed by what they can't see, right? But the answer is more nuanced than quickly shutting the gate to your entire digital life. Employers are hiring a personality, a person with interests and family and hobbies, and you're a human being who has all of those things. Think of the amount of time you have spent sharing articles on topics you care about or posting about local events or friends' new businesses. These interactions demonstrate many hirable qualities to a company that is looking, so simply be aware of what your online presence is reflecting, and shape it up a bit.

Google yourself. First things first, find out what is already out there. Open an incognito window so a search engine can't factor in your previous searches, letting you see the results as a hiring manager would. Make sure to look through regular search results as well as images.

Adjust some privacy settings. Remove any questionable content – make photos private (you can always make certain photos public afterwards), as well as any posts that are too personal or might be inappropriate for a potential new employer to see.

Check your language. Bad mouthing a previous employer? Red flag. Complaining constantly on Twitter about somebody taking too long in line? Nope. These aren't big things, but keep your tone in mind when posting in the first place. It's one thing to be funny, and another entirely to be negative. 65% of employers are checking out your online presence to gauge your professionalism and social conduct, so make sure you're putting something out there you can be proud of.

Try to post about your interests. Putting up articles and sharing creative content is a great way to show your passion for the industry. Before all else, companies want someone who is passionate about their work and stays knowledgeable about the creative world.

Correct your info. If you have publicly shared your past jobs, make sure the ones you mention on your resume are there. If you don't want them to know your age, remove birthdays and graduation years from public view.

Pay attention to LinkedIn. 79% of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn and it's reputation as the business network of social networks exists for a reason. There, you'll need up to date resume info and descriptions as well as a somewhat professional headshot. This is the heavy hitter in job search successes, so spend some time here.

Change your photo. Unless this is LinkedIn, no need for a headshot, but if your profile photo is pixellated or default image, consider yourself slapped with a "Newbie" stamp – the employer is moving along to the next candidate. Show yourself, use this as an opportunity to show a facet of your personality, and don't just toss up a photo of your dog. This is the first thing they will see, so make it count.

It can be pretty simple to clean up your act on social media when you know a potential job could be on the line, and our best tip is that you don't power wash all evidence of your existence. Leave carefully selected bits and pieces for a hiring manager to find and they will discover a candidate that's full of personality and cares deeply about their industry.

Posted: 8/20/2018 9:28:55 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments