Make Sure You’re Helping (Not Hurting) Yourself On Social Media
A few years ago, barely a week when by without news of someone getting fired because of something they posted on social media. As awareness grew people have become more careful.
That’s a good thing.
Particularly if you’re looking for a new job.
Today, 70% of employers research candidates on social networking sites and 47% say that they’re unlikely to contact a candidate for an interview if they can’t find them online, according to a 2018 Career Builder survey.
What are they looking for?
58% —Information that supports the candidate’s qualifications for the job
50%—If the candidate has a professional online persona
34%—What other people are posting about the candidate
22%—A reason not to hire the candidate
What turns employers off?
Most, if not all, career professionals will tell you to avoid being negative. Even if your boss is the devil incarnate, it’s not something you should share. Here are some numbers: 25% of survey respondents said a primary reason they didn’t hire a candidate was because they bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee.
The top reasons for not moving forward with a candidate were finding:
40%—Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
36%—Information about them drinking or using drugs
31%—Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.
30%—Links to criminal behavior
27%—Candidate lied qualifications
27%—Candidate had poor communication skills
What do they like?
While some employers are looking for reasons not to hire you, they are also swayed when they find information they like.
Top reasons for moving forward with a candidate were finding:
37%—Candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job
34%—Candidate was creative
33%—Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image
31%—Candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests
31%—Got a good feel for the candidate’s personality, could see a good fit within the company culture
28%—Candidate had great communications skills
Now that you know what impresses employers, use it to your advantage. Here’s how.
Candidate’s background information supported job qualifications (37%)
How you can make this work for you. Make sure you have a consistent message across all of your social media channels. While your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t mirror your resume word-for-word, make sure there are no discrepancies. A common mistake is to list different jobs at the same company separately on LinkedIn and then clump these same positions under one title, the most current title, on a resume. Inconsistencies like this may make recruiters and hiring managers wonder what else they may find.
Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image (33%)
How you can make this work for you. Think carefully about the photos you select as your profile pictures online. No, you don’t need a professional head shot, however, having a LinkedIn profile picture of you in overly casual attire or a photo of you cocktail in hand on Twitter is not going to convey a professional image. If you need to let loose on Facebook at least make sure that your Privacy Settings are on high. Still, when it comes to the Internet there’s no privacy guarantee.
While you can’t control everything in the job-search process, you can control what employers will find when they investigate you online. A 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that “research” goes both ways. Savvy job seekers check employers out online too, with 15 percent saying they check hiring managers out on social media, and 38 percent try to directly interact with hiring managers.
Candidate’s personality came across as a good fit with the company culture (31%)
How you can make this work for you. Should you fake who you are? No. You shouldn’t try to be someone you are not. But you should be your “best self” online. Hiring managers are put off by constant negativity like snarky comments about your colleagues. They don’t want to see complaints about every, single, restaurant you’ve ever been to either.
They’re hoping to find candidates who will get along with their coworkers. What they don’t want is someone who may become a problem. You don’t want to employers to look at your online presence and think “Who would want to work with this person?”
Candidate had great communications skills (28%)
How you can make this work for you. While you may not think communication skills are that important on social media posts, this survey indicates otherwise. Nearly one third (28%) are favorably impressed by good skills and 27% won’t move forward when the candidate’s skills are lacking.
Since having solid communication skills rank high on the plus and minus scales, make sure what you post is well written.
Don’t start posting without thinking once you get the job. Nearly half of employers (48%) check current employees on social media and 34% say they have warned or fired an employee based on what they found online.
Today, you are who the internet says you are. Make sure you are showing your best self on social networking sites and social media. Employers are watching.