Of the many things to consider during a job search, your social media presence should be one of them.
Increasingly, recruiters, hiring managers and related parties are looking to social media to gain a more complete perspective about the candidates they meet and hire. It therefore behooves you as a job seeker to be mindful about what that presence looks like.
I would like to share a few insights to help you update your social media presence during your next job search.
Run a quick Google search on yourself to see what appears on the first page. You may know what’s on your social media feeds, but you want to get a feel for what a recruiter or hiring manager sees when they look you up. Keep in mind that it isn’t only social media platforms that have strong SEO. Comments made on various news outlets may also appear in your search. News outlets are now restricting the use of pseudonyms in an effort to combat trolling, meaning that comments will be attached to individuals’ names.
Now that you know what you know what’s there, you can take action if you feel it’s warranted. Pay particular attention to your profile pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Even if your privacy settings make it that no one can see your posts, they can still see profile picture and potentially draw conclusions from that.
If you work in the field of social media management or in function involving social media, you may want to consider keeping your privacy settings more relaxed. It’s easy to write about your social media accomplishments in your résumé, however many managers are interested to see if you walk the talk. It is ultimately a personal decision, but it’s point worth considering.
Audit your social media platforms
It’s up to you to decide what you want to share. No one can dictate to you what to post. By the same token, you don’t know what someone will infer without context or if there may be consequences based on what you post.
I won’t sit here and list what I think you should or should not post on your social media platforms. What I will say however is that most recruiters and hiring managers look to social media to assess character.
With this knowledge, I recommend going through your platforms and auditing what’s there. Ask yourself “What kind of person would post this?” because it’s fair to assume this is the question in the minds of recruiters and hiring managers.
You should look at LinkedIn in a separate category from the other social media platforms. LinkedIn will act as a partner with your résumé. Most recruiters and hiring managers will compare them for consistency, particularly in dates and in job titles. They will look for additional information like schools, professional associations and languages to confirm or expand on what appears in the résumé.
I wrote an article earlier this year, Q & A: Refresh your LinkedIn knowledge and this can help to give you guidance to set up or update your LinkedIn profile. Pay particular attention to ensure consistency between your current résumé and your LinkedIn profile.
I would also recommend cautious behaviour towards those who view your profile. Most recruiters use professional LinkedIn services so you may not know if they are looking at your profile. Hiring managers can be a different story, however. Don’t read too much into a hiring manager viewing your profile. Please note that it isn’t an invitation to connect or start a dialogue, even if they look at your profile more than once.
As I mentioned earlier, I won’t be the one to tell you what to do with your social media presence. My hope is that I have been able to help you to bring a more critical eye and a new perspective about how recruiters and hiring managers view social media presence in the context of a job search. I hope that it’s something you reflect on and take action if you feel it’s appropriate.