Ready to Start Your Job or Internship Search? Clean Up Your Social Media Before Applying!

Clean Up Your Social Media Prior to Applying for Jobs and Internships

Like it or not, when you apply for a job or an internship, there’s a better than average chance that someone in HR will check out your online profiles at some point during the application or interview process.  According to the 2016 annual social media recruitment survey by CareerBuilder, the number of employers who use social media to screen candidates has increased 500% over the last decade. Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation Survey found that 87% of recruiters like to use LinkedIn to vet prospective job/internship candidates.

Why do they look?  Social media can give a hiring manager a better glimpse of who you really are in a way that a resume and cover letter never will.  Some look for supporting evidence that what’s on your resume is true, some look to see what others say about you online and others look to see if your online persona is professional.  If you don’t represent yourself well online, hiring managers might infer that you won’t represent their company’s brand well either.

Some job/internship seekers believe that if they keep their profiles private, they don’t need to worry about how they look online.  Sadly, that’s not true because many employers say that they are less likely to interview candidates if they can’t find information about them online.

So, what should you do online when looking for a job?

  • Run your Social GPA with The Social U and view your social media report card to identify any posts that may cause employers to view you in a negative fashion and then either delete those posts or edit them.
  • Share details on your social media accounts about any volunteer work you do as well as information about your professional or social engagement work.
  • Engage with current events but do it in an appropriate manner. Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation Survey showed that recruiters aren’t indifferent to political opinions shared on social media so be careful about espousing vitriolic opinions.  It’s okay to express your political opinions as long as you do so with the understanding that those opinions may turn off some recruiters and cause you not to get called in for an interview.
  • Take a look at your spelling, grammar and manner of expressing yourself and correct mistakes.
  • Allow your profiles to be seen – a limited social media presence can affect you negatively if you are applying for a job in certain fields (especially communications and marketing).

What should you clean up?

  • Evidence of alcohol consumption or marijuana use (or for that matter any drug)
  • Too many selfies
  • Oversharing
  • Unflattering profile pictures (41% of recruiters believe that pictures candidates post online that they see before meeting them influences their first impression of candidates)
  • Racist, sexist or other offensive comments
  • Complaints about your current or previous job, colleagues, clients or managers
  • Sharing what is obviously confidential information
  • Sharing when you should be working (don’t forget that dates & times appear in your posts)
  • Scandalous photos
  • Bullying or trolling

So, before you fill out that application, update your resume or begin to write cover letters, make sure that your social persona matches the professional persona you’re promoting to potential employers.

Staff-infograph_Social-media-recruitment better hiring for recruitment infographic.jpg

Julie Fisher, M.Ed., is the founder of The Social U and consults with schools, organizations and individuals through the MJ Fisher Group.  

Twitter: @Julz Fisher, @the_social_u