One of the main ways companies use social media in the hiring process is to get more information about (or screen) potential candidates. Don’t give them reasons not to give you a chance – have your settings protect your content. All of your publicly accessible posts and photos could be considered as they try to assess your attitude and fit for company culture – badmouthing employers, offensive language and general bad manners are not likely to help.
Before anything else, complete a social media “run down” of yourself – what is out there and who can see it. Start with googling your name, or your name and location. Then, without logging into your social networks, search each for yourself and see what is accessible. If you can see it then so can everybody else. Recruiters and hiring managers do this – it’s not an urban myth! So if you find something that you’d rather they didn’t, now’s your chance to take action.
Within your own accounts, check and double check your privacy settings. For example – you may think your Facebook profile is private but non-friends may still be able to see all of your old profile photos. You don’t have to change or pretend you’re someone that you’re not – you just have to be aware of the sort of things that could harm your chances of getting a job. If you’re against the idea of “hiding” yourself in privacy settings, be mindful when you post – don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a recruiter or hiring manager to see.
Finding something unsavoury is bad for your chances but a potential employer finding nothing doesn’t improve your chances. This is why it can be particularly useful to have a ‘professional’ twitter account and a LinkedIn account that is solely for professional networking.
Maintaining a positive social media presence can be a great boost to a well crafted application. Well thought out and considered input can really help you and this is especially true when you’re trying to prove you understand a new area. If someone searches your profiles, leave them with a positive view. Finding evidence of someone that is hardworking, well informed and committed to their goals is a powerful message.