Jobs and Careers
How to make your social media profiles employer-friendly
An insight into what employers might think of your social media profiles, by Hannah Collerson
Most of us use several different social media platforms every day. From Facebook to Twitter, to Instagram, we spend a lot of time online.
But when we’re sharing memes, gifs, or hilarious tweets, we don’t always think about what would happen if our employers were to stumble across our profiles.
Depending on what you’ve ‘liked’, who’ve you’ve slated and what’s made you laugh out loud, your social media profile might just make or break your employment opportunities.
Here are 10 tips to help you keep your social media profiles employer-friendly.
1: Employers don’t want to see complaints about your work life
If employers head to your social media accounts and see the odd status about how much you hate your job, or a rant about your colleagues, they’re not going to have particularly high hopes for any professional relationship they might have with you.
Try not to plaster complaints all over your social media profiles. No employer wants to hire someone who's lacking in enthusiasm or someone who’s likely to talk about them behind their back.
2: A ‘wild night out’ status isn’t going to do you any favours
It can be tempting to bang out a status after coming home from a big night out. It can even seem like the best and most important thing you could possibly do (rather than getting yourself a drink of water) before heading to bed.
Of course, your social life is your own private business, but if your privacy settings aren’t top notch, your profile may be publically open to employers. So it’s worth considering what impression you’re giving off.
By all means, post pictures and statuses about your nights out, after all it is your personal account, but maybe wait until the next day to sort through which pictures are appropriate, and write a more coherent description of your night.
3: Believe it or not, employers want you to have a personality
Keeping your social media profiles employer-friendly doesn’t mean you can only post boring statuses. Employers want you to have a personality, and they often like to see that personality shine through your online profiles.
If you have a particular interest, show it! And if any of your interests are relevant to the career you want to go into, definitely post about them. For example, if you’re hoping to go into a sports-related role, post positive or encouraging statuses about games or matches you’ve watched or been to see. This will show a genuine interest, and if you keep things positive (even if your favourite team or sportsman doesn’t do so well), you’ll be seen as a team player, which is something employers love to see.
As well as using social media to perform a bit of an unofficial background check on you, they might also want to see more than what they could gather from your CV.
Employers don’t just want to employ people whose work ethic resembles that of a machine, they want to hire people who are going to bring something more to their company.
If your social media profiles show that you’re a fun, outgoing person, employers might just see you as the perfect person to provide a fresh insight to their company.
4: Bragging about your personal achievements might just land you a job
Whilst bragging about how much you’ve done and what you’ve achieved might get annoying for those who have to listen to it on a daily basis, employers love to see you boast about this sort of thing on social media.
They might stumble across a skill or achievement they didn’t know you had, and they’ll recognise that you’re the sort of person who takes pride in what you do.
Plus, they’ll probably start to get a little excited at the thought of you publicly sharing things you’ve achieved under their company name – it’s basically free advertising for them!
5: Steer clear of text language
Nowadays, nearly everyone has a smartphone, so text language just isn’t acceptable anymore. It’s not quicker, and it’s definitely not easier, especially when to use it consistently you’d have to battle it out with autocorrect.
If you’re typing your statuses with text language, not only are you making all of your followers cringe, but you might put employers off. They’re likely to prefer a candidate who is used to using complete English, even online.
Most roles will involve at least some form of communication or English skills, and if they’re not seeing any of those on your social media profile, a place where you’re probably communicating your thoughts to hundreds, and a place where you’ve got the added help of autocorrect, they’re going to shudder to think about what your emails might look like.
6: Think before you post
It seems that we’re currently in an age of heated politics and strong opinions, and there aren’t many people that have remained neutral about recent political events.
We all value our freedom of speech, but if you’re currently applying for jobs it can be a good idea to tone down any strongly opinionated posts. Remember, employers are looking for team players. Plus, they’re only human, so they’re likely to have their own opinions, and you don’t want to clash with them before you’ve even gotten started.
So to avoid any unnecessary clashes of opinion before you’ve even started working with an employer, think twice before posting anything that could be seen as offensive.
7: Employers don’t want to see any inappropriate photos
If you’ve been posting some risqué holiday shots, or photos that demonstrate your ability to drink more than should be humanly possible, you might want to take these down before applying for jobs, or at least restrict who can see them.
8: Having a public chat might actually be a good thing for your job prospects
Whilst public arguments and risky comments can turn potential employers off, contributing to public discussions can actually encourage employers to hire you (as long as you’re doing so in a civilised manner).
You’d be surprised how many people struggle with basic communication, so when employers see you engaging with others and sharing your insight, they’ll definitely want to make sure they don’t miss out on hiring you.
9: Swearing is a big turn off for employers
Even if swear words make up a huge chunk of your normal vocabulary, it’s best not to fill your social media profile with foul language.
Employers tend to shy away from those who can’t get through a sentence without swearing, it’s just not professional, especially not in a customer facing role.
10: Keep your updates interesting
Try not to bombard your timeline with hundreds of statuses within a short time period. The outcome of last night’s episode of your favourite soap opera probably isn’t as big a deal to everyone else as it is to you, and most people aren’t too bothered about receiving regular updates about each hour of your day. Employers, as well as your followers, may quickly get bored with your profile.
Employers visit your profile to find out what’s important to you, and what you’re really like, and if the important stuff is buried by boring statuses they’re not going to bother finding it.
Plus, if you’re constantly posting several updates a day, employers might worry that you would spend your working hours updating your social media profile instead of completing work tasks.
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