Smart Girls, I’m going to have to get a little preachy in this post. There is a HUGE discrepancy in the number of employers that report using social media to weed-out potential candidates, and the number of young jobseekers that believe social media could negatively impact their job search.
I’ll never know for sure if my use of social media has hurt my past job searches, but I do know my profiles have been perused. One recruiter I was speaking with even friend requested me on Facebook because I had blocked my profile from the public. Now I certainly couldn’t just deny her friend request – how would that look? I had to critically review all photos and posts to see if any could be perceived as negative. And when looking at it from a recruiter’s perspective I was shocked at how much I had to delete.
Side note about deleting: it doesn’t go away. I know you’ve heard this before, Smart Girls, but it really doesn’t. For example, I first started tweeting when I was 19 or so and very much into the “socializing” phase of my early college years. While I never said anything too terrible, my posts just sounded whiney, and not what I wanted to put out there for potential employers. So I deleted them.
In doing a quick Google search of myself – I found them. An entire history of everything I had ever tweeted, whether or not I had deleted them. Even tweets that I had deleted seconds later because of typos! Now, out of self-preservation I won’t tell you where I found this land of lost tweets, but trust me they don’t go away.
I know most of you have already spent years on social media, but now it’s time for some damage control. Here are a few things to watch out for:
I get it. You just turned 21 and you and all your friends want to show off how much fun you had in Vegas. Make sure these photos don’t have you in compromising situations and too revealing clothing. When in doubt, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable showing it to your grandmother. If it’s your friends posting these photos, either ask them to remove them or at the very least un-tag yourself.
I have to admit this is the big one for me. Photos are kind of a no-brainer, but your status updates are your voice! This is a direct link for potential employers to your real personality. You know, the personality you show everyone else when you’re not on a job interview.
Use your status updates as an opportunity to showcase your accomplishments. Replace complaints with insights. Put your best foot forward!
Be Careful What You ‘Like’:
Be smart, Smart Girls, about what and who you ‘like.’ It may seem hilarious that you and all your friends liked “extreme beer bongs” but this could portray you as a partier – even if you aren’t.
All of this information can be compiled by an employer to reconstruct your personality. Take a good look at your profile, and ask yourself: if you didn’t know this person, what judgments would you make about her? If it’s anything less than perfection it’s time to clean up your image!