Contributed by Sarah Vlach
Having one or two well-rounded social media profiles can help your job search. 70 percent of employers check profiles.
Why do employers do this? They want to get a glimpse of who you really are – how you really communicate – what you really do in your free time. Employers may search your name as soon as they receive your application. Have 1 or 2 consistent, up-to-date profiles to increase visibility to employers.
And, according to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, about 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees.
The key is creating an online presence that is clean, genuinely yours and reflects your skills, interests and communication style.
Several years back, employers were limited to learning about you based on your resume and references. However, now employers have access to much more information than ever - who you are when you aren’t in the employment spotlight.
If you post a picture of you at your last volunteer opportunity or receive a review or testimonial from a colleague, you’re ahead. Another suggestion is to maintain a blog on your passion or career. That will show potential employers you walk the walk and you truly know the hobby or career path. In addition, proof-reading, grammar and spell checks will increase your professional image and give employers something to “bite” on. It also gives employers insight into your communication style. It’s an effective way to take the idea of “business casual” or “business professional” into your online persona - you will show you fit right in with the company’s culture. In essence, you want to “dress how the employer dresses”.
Another suggestion is reading up on the potential employer’s website or blog, if they have one. This will show employers you are passionate about their business. You’re seeking them out, and employers appreciate that. Employers want to know they’re not just another application. You are seeking them out, researching them and are truly interested in them.
What to Avoid on Social Media
A good rule of thumb is: If in doubt, leave it out.
Most employers are not searching your profile with the intent of finding things to disqualify you. However, according to the survey shared by Business News Daily, more than half (57 percent) of employers said they found something during their pre-screenings that caused the applicant’s resume to get thrown away:
1. Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 40 percent
2. Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 36 percent
3. Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.: 31 percent
4. Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 30 percent
5. Job candidate lied about qualifications: 27 percent
6. Job candidate had poor communication skills: 27 percent
7. Job candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 25 percent
8. Job candidate's screen name was unprofessional: 22 percent
9. Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 20 percent
10. Job candidate lied about an absence: 16 percent
11. Job candidate posted too frequently: 12 percent
If you’re afraid that the content you’ve posted on your personal profiles will keep you from getting an interview, and you’ve considered deleting your profile altogether, think again. According to Saige Driver of Business News Daily, 47 percent of employers stated they wouldn't call a person for an interview if they can't find them online. With the high number of applications received each day, it’s another way for companies to select out the “most qualified” candidates.
Once you’re hired, this is not the time to get lazy. The study found that 43 percent of employers use social networking sites to look up their current employees. 34 percent found something questionable that caused them to discipline or terminate an employee. See list above and always keep that in mind.
The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across a variety of industries and company sizes in the private sector.