Social Media is about getting to the point quickly. So here are the major takeaways right at the top:
- Your social media accounts can lose you a job – companies hate to be embarrassed
- Polish your socials before an interview – hide your account or delete questionable posts
- Separate your personal life – consider creating “professional” accounts
- No presence is better than a bad presence – don’t list your socials on applications if they’re not ready.
When your parents were looking for a job, employees being online wasn’t really something that most employers were concerned about. Now, an online presence is critical to job searching and hiring. Job sites like LinkedIn and CareerBuilder are more busy than ever. They make a major impact on the ability to land a job.
But social media can be an important tool in your job search, too.
Even politicians, companies, and cities have their own accounts to talk to the public. New policies have been announced by Presidents directly on Twitter!
But we all don’t have social media managers making sure that every word we put out reaches the right audience in the right way.
Companies care about your image and their own
Linking your accounts in the “Website” section of a job application can potentially help you stand out, in the right situation. But our personal accounts can also lose us a job. One look at a…questionable…social media account can tell them all they need to reject a candidate even before the first call.
Companies care about their image – because their image is potentially worth millions. They won’t risk gaining a poor reputation from an employee’s actions or opinions.
Whether we like it or not, our personal lives on a public account is as much a part of the interview as our resume is. Potential employers can – and likely will – pass on a candidate if they think that they’ll poorly represent that company.
Here are a few things you can do to instantly improve your social media presence — or at least keep it from hurting your chances.
- Don’t list your social media accounts on applications.
- Create a new account devoted to showcasing your talents or connecting with people in your desired job industry.
- Set your personal account to private.
- Hide any posts that you really, REALLY wouldn’t want your employer to see.
Bottom line, is there something on your socials that you wouldn’t want your employer to see? Chances are, they won’t want to see it either – much less their customers.
How social media can help
But there is good news. Social media can help make you the best candidate for the right job!
Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok have secured jobs for lots of people. And that’s not just for the rare person who gets famous from a single viral video, either. Artists, actors, and freelancers use these sites to bring in regular work and find new clients.
But the account has to be professional.
That doesn’t mean “zero fun” or 100% about work at all times. Your accounts should be a reflection of you and your personality. But think of our account as an “interview-before-your-interview.” Unless you’re a paid influencer, a social media account that is both professional and personal can do more harm than good.
Use your account to promote your strengths and build your portfolio.
Photographers need to showcase professional-quality photos if they want to use their account to land a client.
Aspiring Social Media managers need to show that they can manage their own accounts well if they hope to manage one for a company.
To sum up, social media is supposed to be fun! It can also cost you opportunities depending on what you’re posting history looks like.
For more career tips, see our blog post on 2024 Job tips for recent graduates (and everyone else, too)