Applying for jobs after college is a lot of work. The to-do list: Update your resume, find open positions, spruce up your interview wardrobe, schedule interviews. On and on.
Add one more: Clean up your social media profile.
You might think changing your settings to “private” will keep you in the clear, but you really need to make an effort to remove inappropriate content – or even seemingly innocuous comments that some people might find objectionable –from your pages before applying for jobs.
No hiring manager worth his salt today will talk to a job candidate before first searching all the popular social media platforms – from Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, Instagram and so forth – to see your digital footprint and what kind of image you project.
Yes, the video from that keg party you attended sophomore year was hilarious. Your future boss might not think so, though. And, he might get the wrong idea about your decision to “like” Willie Nelson’s campaign to legalize marijuana. Fair or not, that’s life.
Here are some dos and don’ts for the digital highway:
Hired: Update Your profiles
Keeping party pictures and inappropriate posts on your social media pages is one of the easiest ways to persuade an employer that you’re not serious about your career. Fair or not, hiring managers care about what you post, and they don’t want to hire someone with more bar pictures than career references.
The first step you need to take to create recruiter-approved social profiles is to remove all references of drinking, skipping class, complaining about your job or profanity. Hiring managers often get their first impression from a person’s profile, and if they see several posts about blowing off class, they might think you’ll have the same lax attitude toward your job.
Next, you must update all of your profiles with information about your college, major/minor, skills, goals and relevant work experience. LinkedIn’s questionnaire is a great example of the type of information you should include on all of your social profiles, but make sure to include your personality – you don’t want to read like a robot.
Hired: Follow the Company’s Career Page
Young professionals should also “like” or follow the company or career page of the business where they’re applying. This can give you more insight to the company, like what type of work you will be doing, the clients they serve, etc. Most companies also post job positions on these pages as well, so you can get on the inside track for any possible openings.
Hired: Post About Industry-Related Topics
Another great way to get on a business’ radar before you even have an interview is to share posts related to the industry you’re interested in or, even better, the specific company you hope to work for. Twitter is a great place to do this, but you can also share on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Fired: Sharing Controversial/Negative Posts
All you have to do is pay attention to the headlines: Social media can be dangerous to your career. Just ask the restaurant employee fired for posting a photo that showed him licking a stack of tacos or the technology industry employee hired (and then fired) for tweeting a negative comment about the company.
Some people think what they post outside of work is not their employer’s business, and maybe it’s not, but the lines between business and personal life have blurred and, anyway, perception matters a lot.
If you work in the private sector you must comply with your company’s social media regulations. The rules can vary depending on the type of company you’re with, but a good rule of thumb is to ask HR if the company has a social media policy.