With so many people out of work and legions of candidates vying for the few jobs that are available, employers are looking for more ways to differentiate between potential hires. That means that more and more employers are beginning to look at the social media profiles of job candidates in order to determine who would best benefit their organization. If you’re in the job market and are actively applying for employment, it pays to take a look at your social profiles and make sure that they’ll help you get a job—instead of hurt you. And here are 6 tips to help you get started:
1. Google Yourself
If you haven’t done it before, it can be an eye opening experience. You may discover that you have such a small online presence that potential employers won’t be able to find you. On the other hand, you may discover that the top result for your name is a blog post by a friend of yours describing your drunken night in Las Vegas. Is that what you want potential employers to see?
2. Be found
The best possible result is if you find that your personal website, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile appear on the first page and are recognizably yours. This shows potential employers that you have some clout and are active in online communities—just hope that your profiles show that you are active in the right kind of online communities.
3. Clean it up
Take a look at your Facebook, Twitter, personal blog, and more. What is the first thing people will see? A picture of you riding a mechanical bull on St. Patrick’s day or a nice, neutral picture of yourself smiling at the camera? Look at your status updates and information. Eliminate anything that might make you look lazy, sarcastic, or as if you might be an embarrassment to a potential employer. Especially delete any disparaging remarks about past employment or any job you may have applied for.
4. Check your connections
Who are you connected to? If you recently worked on a local political campaign for a candidate who was indicted on corruption charges, maybe it’s best to unfriend them. Don’t be guilty by association.
5. Don’t overshare
Social networks are a great place to let loose and tell people what you are up to, but a string of updates about the contents of your lunch or your gastrointestinal problems could be a turn off. Employers want people who have important things to say or who are involved in their community in important ways. Stop posting a meaningless status every 10 minutes, and start posting one or two a day that actually say something.
6. Share interesting stuff
When you share online, make sure you’re sharing content that a potential employer might find interesting. For example, if you’re in marketing, tweet about interesting articles you’ve read about marketing. If you’re a chef, share interesting recipes you’ve found around the web. Create an online presence that makes you someone your potential employer would want to hire.