I’m Applying for a New Position and I’m Worried About Social Media – What Should I Do?

Employ These 5 Tips to Use Social Media’s Power to Find Your Next Job!

Today, employers regularly review the social media pages and profiles of potential employees.  In evaluating internet search results, many corporations utilize what they discover and find that this additional information makes hiring decisions a little easier in the competitive job market.  Indeed, as a candidate, the “ghosts from your past” can now be easily pulled up during a job interview or screening process.  As a result, anecdotal evidence reveals that the majority of employers have found unattractive material on candidates’ social media profiles that have caused them not to hire these individuals.

Given that employers research and review candidate social media, if you are looking for a new position, what do you do?  You may think to yourself, “I should delete everything!”   However, you shouldn’t be quick to delete all of your social media presence just because of the nerve-racking job process. That’s because having such a presence has become commonplace, as well. NOT having one could cast you under suspicion. (“What are they hiding?”)

So, what is the current best practice for social media profile management?  You should not delete all of your social media accounts completely.  Instead, you should use social media to help advance your application by editing or cleaning your social media profiles.  How do you do that – Use these simple steps to prepare your profile(s) to be reviewed by a potential employer.  These five tips will help you avoid social media profile mistakes and, instead, use social media’s power to find your next job!

Tip #1—Use an appropriate profile photo.

It’s typically the first thing that catches a person’s eye, and it creates the first impression. Obviously, that wild party photo from last Friday night should not be your first choice as a profile picture. While “selfies” have become somewhat of a norm, using a duck-face “selfie” for your profile picture is simply a poor move.

It’s easier to select a photo for Facebook, since it’s more of a social site compared to others, and employers seem to understand this. LinkedIn is another type of social media site, but slightly more unique, as it’s devoted to the art of networking. For LinkedIn, your profile photo should NOT be like Facebook or Instagram. A “selfie” simply does not look professional. You should invest in a decent headshot or ask a friend to take a nice picture in professional clothes to not have employers immediately dismiss your candidacy from your picture alone.

Tip #2—Use your real name.

Your name is one of two components that a person sees upon opening your page (the other being your profile photo). While using a cute nickname or a name that has resulted from an inside joke might have cut it in high school, it simply will not do within the professional realm.

Tip #3—Follow institutions and/or causes.

Most employers seek candidates who are intellectually curious and who keep well-informed about industry trends and changes.  You can demonstrate your interest and your expertise in your industry when you stay well-connected, and evidence these connections – being connected to particular industry causes and professional organizations – on your social media profile.  Therefore, following such institutions and causes will help keep you well informed.

Tip #4—Tailor your profile to employers’ needs.

Look through the websites of companies for which you’d like to work. What is important to the companies? What are their core values? What kind of employees do they typically like to hire? Incorporate this information into your profile in a way that makes sense. You’ll be more confident during interviews, which will show in your performance.

Tip #5—Do a “virtual cleanse” every few months.

Find photographs or posts (which might not have been added by you, but by your friends) that involve drama or indicate immaturity. Delete them or make them only accessible to you, the owner of the account. However, if cleaning one’s accounts seems too overwhelming, consider making personal social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) private.

Living in the digital age has brought many conveniences for both job seekers and employers. Regardless, social media—when used properly—can bring great success to both parties.  Do you need help you’re your own social media review?  We can assist you in editing your profiles and developing professional strategies for your search? Learn more about Lexacount Search’s career consulting services here.

Good luck!!

 

Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at jacqueline.hill@lexacount.com or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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