How to manage your social image when job seeking
By Alissa Bower | Associate Director – HR, Business Support & Customer Service
Picture this… You land an interview for that amazing role. It’s your dream job – great people, culture, interesting brand and awesome salary! You diligently study the company, its people, its products and prepare intelligent questions. You are calm, composed and all round AWESOME in the interview. It’s in the bag you think as you leave the room. But later that day you get the dreaded call… “you’re unsuccessful”. So, what went wrong?
This happens all the time. You do everything right at the interview. But before making an offer the company checks your social accounts and they don’t like what they see. Read my tips below on how to manage your social image so this doesn’t happen to you.
Lock down your Facebook account
The first thing you should do is switch your Facebook account to private. This can be difficult as Facebook regularly changes their settings – so make sure you check it’s working. Your social media profiles are an extension of your personality. They are also a way for employers to learn more about you outside the interview. Most employers will check your profiles, so make sure they represent you in the best possible light.
Check your Facebook profile photo is appropriate
Even if your Facebook account is set to private employers and recruiters may still see your profile image. We regularly see people using what could be described as a somewhat adventurous Facebook profile photo. You don’t need to be sporting a suit, but don’t use that pic of you planking on a tiger or 3 pints down at Oktoberfest. My advice is to smile and keep it ‘G’ rated. Change it back to crazy self once you’re off the job market.
Be conscious of what you say online
Once something is posted in the digital world it’s very hard to remove. This goes for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. You can certainly have opinions and beliefs – that’s what makes us individuals – but you need to be comfortable with your employer seeing it. I would advise you to steer clear of mentioning alcohol or drugs and of using rude or suggestive language. Remember it’s out there forever! So, think very carefully about what you share.
It’s called ‘egosurfing’ and according to Wikipedia its the practice of searching for one’s own name, or pseudonym on a popular search engine to see the results. It may sound a bit vain but you need to do this regularly and remove anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Perhaps un-tag yourself in inappropriate photos. Ask your friends or family members to change their privacy settings if they have photos of you that aren’t fit for the public domain.
Update your LinkedIn Profile
Most employers and recruiters use LinkedIn as a big part of the recruitment process so it’s vital that you have a strong profile. Your profile should be very similar to your resume. If it’s not you need to update it. Make sure your title is accurate and your current job is included. Bad grammar and spelling reflect poorly on you so get someone to check this if it’s not your strong point.
Use a professional image for LinkedIn
You should use a professional image. This should reflect the industry you work in. If you’re in corporate, dress corporate. We live in a visual world and your profile photo is a good way to make a great impression
Connect with companies you want to work for
Employers want to see that you are interested in their company. One way to demonstrate this is to connect with them on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. This shows you are keen and proactive. You can also connect on LinkedIn with people that work at the company.
Seek recommendations from your network
Contact people that you have worked with to get a recommendation. You can do this through LinkedIn. Choose people who you know will provide positive comments. Employers and recruiters will look at these when they are viewing your profile. Find more info on how to request a recommendation here.
Connect with recruiters and let them know your looking
You should actively connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. Find out who are the specialists in your sector and get in touch. You should also let employers and recruiters know you’re looking. There’s a button in the career interest section of LinkedIn, under the ‘Jobs’ tab called ‘let recruiters know you’re open’. Turn this on and LinkedIn will advise recruiters and employers that you’re looking for jobs in the next 90 days.