Social media and online presence are a growing part of our culture. The job search process has adjusted accordingly. What does this mean for potential job candidates? This means that if you have profiles online, they’re fair game for an employer. Your resume is no longer the only source of information an employer will have. Your social media and social networking sites have the power to secure you a job—or prevent you from being hired.
The role of social media in the hiring process
A 2018 survey from CareerBuilder found that seventy percent of employers check the social media sites of potential job candidates. The same survey reported that over half of employers have found content on a candidate’s social media that caused them not to hire the candidate. Depending on your job, social media can have an incredible amount of weight in an employer’s hiring decision.
Why is this? The answer is that many people feel comfortable posting personal content on social media—content that can’t be or won’t be included on a resume. Companies use social media to get a more complete picture of job applicants.
Some potential employers will ask outright for a job candidate’s social media handles and let you know that they conduct searches on social media. However, don’t assume that if a company doesn’t ask they won’t check into your accounts.
What social media sites do employers check?
There is no concrete list of social media sites that an employer will look at. Any account you have, whether it be more personal like Instagram or professional like LinkedIn, can be checked. Some employers will only look at your Facebook profile; others will do a thorough check of your entire online presence.
That being said, according to a survey done by the human resources firm Paychex, Facebook and LinkedIn are the most common sites that hiring managers check. Twitter and Instagram are second on the list.
Creating job-friendly social media accounts
The idea of a potential employer viewing your social media accounts doesn’t have to be concerning. Social media can be an asset or a liability to your job search—or it can simply be a neutral picture of who you are. As long as the content you post isn’t hurting your chances–that is, nothing inappropriate, mean or unfavorable–it’s fine to continue posting as normal.
However, social media can also be a fantastic tool to help you secure a job position. Think of social media as a casual resume. You want to show an employer that you are a well-rounded and intelligent individual. You want them to know that you will go above and beyond in the position, but also fit right in with your coworkers. There are many ways to present this idea through social media.
The Dos and Don’ts
- Do post accomplishments that you’re proud of. However…
- Don’t brag. Posting accolades is great, but an employer is not looking for somebody who is potentially self-centered or overly confident. Show what you’ve done and why you’re proud of yourself, but don’t take it too far.
- Do show that you can interact with others online in a positive and professional manner. For social media sites like Facebook, which end up showing your interactions with others on your own profile, this is especially helpful.
- Don’t post content attacking or badmouthing another person.
- Do have a professional username. @JohnDoe is a good choice; @CatLover33 is not.
- Don’t post inappropriate content – provocative photos, foul language and anything related to drugs or alcohol all fall under this category.
- Do make sure there are no discrepancies between what you post and what you have on your resume. This is a red flag to potential employers.
- Don’t post too frequently. This can make it seem like you have nothing better to do with your time. It can also indicate whether or not you use social media on company time.
- Do present yourself in a well-rounded way.
Presenting yourself in a well-rounded way can be difficult, especially since you also want to show an employer that you’ll be good at a job. But say you applied to work for a professional basketball team and your social media feed is exclusively videos of you playing basketball. This definitely shows the employer that you’re dedicated—but it also comes across as one-dimensional. You want to show an employer that you are a complete person, and that is exactly what they’re looking for when checking on your social media accounts.
Don’t delete your accounts entirely
Although deleting your account may seem like an easy fix if you don’t want employers searching you up, this can reflect very poorly on a potential job candidate. Not only can deleted social media accounts still show up in Google searches, but according to a survey from Business News Daily, forty-seven percent of employers would not call a candidate for an interview if they can’t find them online. This can make it seem like a candidate has something to hide.
If you don’t want your accounts viewed, your best bet is to make them private. An employer can still ask you to view your social media accounts, but private accounts means they can’t check up on you without your knowledge.
Social media is powerful, and what you post online says a lot about who you are as a person. Make sure that when an employer sees you online, they see content that shows off your skills and makes you look like a great fit for any company.