There was a time when searching for a job meant responding to ads in the newspaper.
There was no LinkedIn, no Twitter and no Facebook. Much of what an employer knew about you was either through your references, your past employers or your body of work. Occasionally, a story or two about you may have been passed along by a mutual acquaintance.
For the most part, you could keep your private and public life separate. What you did at home and at restaurants and bars didn’t show up in someone’s Instagram or Facebook feed.
The times have changed. Today, one poorly chosen selfie could take you out of the running for your dream job.
While you can adjust privacy settings to limit those who can see the online artifacts of your daily life, you can never be completely certain who is viewing your photos, political ramblings or random thoughts.
In fact, JobVite said in their 2014 study of social media’s role in job searches that 94% of recruiters plan to use or already use social media as part of their recruitment process.
That doesn’t mean they’re scouring feeds for information all the time, but they’re certainly profiling candidates as well as posting jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed and Facebook.
According to Forbes contributor Jacquelyn Smith, 37% of respondents in a CareerBuilder.com survey say they do specifically use social media to screen candidates.
We did a little research and found a series of tips that can help you protect yourself from embarrassing (and possibly job jeopardizing) social media situations.
Realize This: Your Employer Is Looking for More Than a Drunk Selfie
Okay, so we all know that a potential boss scanning our Facebook feed might put you in an awkward situation if you snapped an embarrassing photo of yourself at last week’s happy hour.
Unfortunately, that’s not all potential employers are looking for, says Job-Hunt.org. Your employers could be scanning your feeds for any of the following reasons:
- How well you communicate (your spelling, punctuation, and grammar as well as your ability to clearly communicate ideas)
- Your work history and education
- Your industry knowledge
- Your use of alcohol
- Your use of illegal substances
- Your use of profanity
The solution here is simple. If you know you’re going to start job hunting, keep your Facebook and Instagram posts clean and delete any compromising photos or statements.
We’re certainly not forcing you to alter your sense of expression. Rather, the experts say the basic rules of common sense apply. You don’t want to lose your job over a few words or one photo.
Don’t Just Clean Up Your Social Media; Use It to Your Advantage
This suggestion may come off as a bit inauthentic, but consider it a temporary way to boost your candidacy.
The Forbes article we mentioned also revealed that, according to Career Builder, 29% of hiring managers “found something positive on a profile that drove them to offer the candidate a job.”
Are you launching a job search? Start posting articles or comments about topics related to the field in which you are applying.
You see, today’s job interview is a lot more complex than it used to be. Not only do you have to perform well face-to-face, but you have to present yourself as a worthy candidate before you ever step into the HR department.
Yes, your resume plays a big role in this, but don’t allow your CV to be the only expression of what makes you great.
If you’re looking for work in PR, follow popular PR pages on Facebook and repost their material. Leave thoughtful, well-measured comments. Create and engage in dialogue with PR professionals.
It will pay off – remember, one out of four hiring managers said something they saw on a candidate’s social media feed compelled them to hire the individual.
Come Back Next Month for More Tips
Next month we’ll be continuing our exploration of social media’s role in your job search, so make sure you stop by for more insights we gathered from U.S. News & World Report, The Muse and more.