Social media can be an important tool in the job search – but it can work both for and against you. It can be a great networking tool, but it can also sink your chances for getting an interview or a job offer. You may have heard that recruiters look at your social media accounts. Believe it.
Just as applicants search for that good cultural fit for a job, employers look to the more relaxed social media outlets to make sure an applicant is a good cultural fit for their company. Have you posted a lot of pictures at parties, having fun with friends? That’s probably ok. Unless you’re not of age to legally be drinking what’s in your hand at that party. Employers understand that everyone has a social life and don’t mind seeing that you have a circle of friends and have varied interests…within reason. If you’re not sure where to draw that line, be conservative and don’t post it during the job search. And scrub your photos from the past (like after the break-up).
Friends don’t tag friends who are looking for jobs. Check your privacy settings to make sure you have to approve a tag before it’s posted on your account. And don’t be “that friend,” tagging everyone, including someone who might be trying to manage their own social media account and not want that extra picture of a late night of beer pong.
Tweet cheerfully. Your Twitter account is yours to say what you want, but during the job search (and beyond) you don’t want to post disparaging remarks about a co-worker, your employer, a professor, etc. Think about what a future boss might think if he sees that you’ve posted something negative about your work-study boss. Are you showing good judgement in your tweets? If you feel strongly about politics, and you’re not looking for a political job, think about tempering your tweets a bit during the job search process. Don’t become someone you’re not, just know that a future boss might read your tweet and if she doesn’t take your same view, may decide you’re not a good fit.
Be positive! Show some creativity, but be professional. Many employers search social media accounts to back up an applicant’s resume and qualifications. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and professional. Make sure it reflects the same thing as your resume, with recommendations and endorsements if possible. Join groups in the field you’re hoping to enter, follow companies you’d like to work for, and cross-post articles pertaining to your field of interest.
Above all, be consistent and be honest. Don’t post things you wouldn’t say to someone in person, don’t post negative, discriminatory or inappropriate comments; and don’t post pictures of yourself in any illegal or compromising situations. Think “would I want my grandparent to see this picture of me?” If not, don’t post. Portray yourself as a real person with a real life, but one who knows boundaries and is a professional and an adult ready to leave college and enter the work world.