Everyone has at least one social media account these days. It’s a way of life and something that many of us don’t even put much thought into anymore. Social media helps us keep in touch with distant friends and relatives, plus allows us to share the highlights of our lives and keep somewhat of a digital scrapbook of days gone by.
But if you think LinkedIn is the only social profile that employers are checking out before making a hiring decision, you’re wrong. Around 70% of employers are searching social media and the internet to learn more about job candidates and over half have found something that caused them not to hire someone. The truth is, your facebook, Instagram, twitter, or any digital presence could be keeping you from landing the job.
So what are employers looking for when they go digging around in your online presence? First, they’re looking for the obvious things such as all of your photos showing you being intoxicated or displaying illegal activities. They also take notice of those long rants about how horrible your current boss is or how much you hate your job, which may be true, but it’s best to send that rant in a text to a friend rather than publicly posting it on the internet.
Employers also want to see that you are who your resume represents. If your resume says you’re in a mid-level sales position but your facebook page has you talking about your shift yesterday at a grocery store, it’s a red flag that you could be embellishing. It’s also a good way for them to get a realistic glimpse into your communication skills and personality to see if you will be a good fit with the current company culture.
You’re probably wondering if this means that you have to remove yourself from social media altogether or pretend to be a different person entirely? Not at all! It’s simply important to keep an eye on what your profiles look like and view them as an extension of yourself. You want the digital version of you to line up with what an employer would be getting in the real version. Change your facebook settings to be sure that you cannot be tagged in photos without approving them first. Think twice before posting anything that could be construed as controversial or negative. And stay on top of your profiles regularly. It’s much easier to do regular cleanup and maintenance than it is to attempt to straighten out 5 years of your digital life before applying for a job.