Applying for a job? Then tidy up your online social media profile

Have you ever Googled yourself? If you are applying for a job, you should, as it is more than likely your prospective employers will. You can control a lot of what they see (and don’t see) online by what you show on your social networking sites. Here’s a quick guide on what to look out for on each of your social media accounts:

LINKEDIN

Firstly, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile. If you have one but you have not been on the site for a while, ensure you have an up-to-date profile with all relevant jobs listed, and a current picture. Having references from the right people can make a big difference, as can the types of items you post on your updates and the kind of people you are linking up with.

You can also use LinkedIn to find out about the people interviewing you and the company you are joining, which may be able to give you a head start when you meet with them.
Don’t forget to join relevant groups where you can talk to like-minded people and make important industry contacts.

FACEBOOK

The stories of pictures posted on Facebook of wild college parties in the U.S. coming between candidates and their jobs are legendary, so it is useful to know who can see which parts of your Facebook profile.

Firstly it is important to decide on whether you want colleagues or prospective employers to be able see your Facebook profile or not. Many Facebook profiles contain photos, videos and status updates that can tell an employer or prospective employer a lot about someone’s character.

If you decide to keep it private, then make sure the site is fully “locked down” so that no one but your “friends” can see your pictures, videos or posts or any personal information. (To do this go to the top right of your Facebook page and move your mouse over the down arrow and click on “privacy settings”. Then click on each category and decide who can see or add things to your Facebook account).

If you decide to let in work colleagues, remember to be professional, watch what people post about you and the content you put up about yourself. It may be worth “editing” some of the content to show a more professional you.

Facebook can be useful to “reach out” in a more personal manner to work contacts or colleagues, but can come at a cost of self-censorship, so the positives and negatives need to be weighed up.

TWITTER

Twitter is a very public forum and everything you say in a tweet can be read by anyone. So think before you sign up, and think before you tweet under your own name about something controversial. If you have a Twitter account and are looking for a job, it may be worth trying to take an objective view of what your account says about you and what a prospective employer might think.

HFG

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