Is your social media persona hurting your job prospects?

Posted on: February 9th, 2016


Social media and recruitment are intrinsically linked. Once, simply a niche branch of recruitment, today social media is central to the process. Job seekers can use social platforms to find a job, engage with potential employers and build their personal brand. Meanwhile, recruiters can use social media to screen candidates and get a more personal view of potential recruits.

Put simply, social media has the power to make or break your career. But the answer isn’t to ignore social media altogether; having the right social presence can do wonders for your career – you just have to manage it effectively.

There are certain rules about what you should and shouldn’t post on social media, but how much of this do we abide by? The Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey 2015 provides a good insight into how recruiter attitudes are changing. According to the research, 92% of recruiters use social media to fill job vacancies, with LinkedIn being the most popular platform.

The survey reveals that it is a great time to be a jobseeker, with more than a quarter of companies expecting to hire at least 100 people over the coming year. It also exposes some of the errors people are making on their social media profiles. Worried you might be making some of these mistakes? Here are the survey’s dos and don’ts of social media sharing.

What to share

1 Do include information about volunteer, professional and social engagement work

As you would with a CV, be sure to include all details of your working life on social media. This includes previous roles – both paid and unpaid. Giving a full rundown of past employment and education will highlight the range of transferable skills you possess. Voluntary and charity work are just as important and help to distinguish one candidate from another. This kind of work shows someone has taken a pro-active approach to better themselves and contribute to a worthwhile cause.

2 Do engage with events

As well as engaging with potential recruiters, savvy jobseekers join in with industry conversations and engage with relevant events on social media. This kind of activity shows a commitment to both a particular industry and personal development. They are also a great way to network – always a good thing to do as a jobseeker.

3 Do check your spelling and grammar

Typos and poor grammar stick out like a sore thumb. If spotted (and they always are), they can mean a candidate is instantly consigned to the ‘no’ pile. We are all guilty of misspelling a word or misplacing an apostrophe from time to time, but persistently sloppy grammar on social media suggests a lack of attention to detail and conscientiousness. Check, double check and check again.

What not to share

1 Don’t share unprofessional details about your personal life

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that sharing the ins and outs of your three-day bender may not portray you in the best possible light with future employers. You may feel that photo of you in full party mode perfectly illustrates your extroverted side, however a recruiter may have other ideas. By all means use social media to show your social side, just leave aside any booze and drug references.

2 Don’t post endless selfies

We’re not saying the occasional selfie will do irreparable damage to your career, but an endless flow of them might. Posting multiple pictures of yourself is classic narcissistic behaviour and signals a lack of confidence – not the traits recruiters are searching for. And if you’re serious about finding a job, it’s also advisable to steer clear of too many pics of babies, cats, dogs, lattes, lunches, and sunsets. As well as being rather clichéd, they help you blend into the crowd rather than stand out from it.

3 Don’t delete your profile completely

Managing your social profile is one thing, deleting it completely is another matter entirely. Recruiters want to be able to find out as much as they can about an individual and the majority use social media to do so. If your social media profile is non-existent, or you have set all your profiles to private, many employers will see this as a red flag. This is particularly important if you are looking for a job within marketing and communications.

It all boils down to you taking control of what you put out there. Recruiters aren’t specifically searching for salacious details about you, they just want to find out if you are the best fit for a particular role. Give them more of what they want to see – and less of what they don’t.

At Lucy Bristow, we can help you fine tune your social persona so you show potential employers your very best side.

Image: Instagram and other Social Media Apps by Jason Howie available under a CC BY 2.0 license

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