We live more in public now than at any other time in history. Sometimes, this is almost literally true. As Facebook gives way to Twitter, which has given way to live streaming, full chunks of our lives exist as a semi-permanent cyber-monument.
Meanwhile, employers want to know everything they can about you before they hire you. They only have a resume, and maybe an interview or two, to get a picture of who you are. They have incentive to find every piece of info they can.
Now, companies aren’t going to employ hackers or private investigators to build a secret dossier. But they will at least do a simple Google search to find out what they can. Keeping this in mind can make the difference between maximizing opportunities and missing out.
Here are a few key questions to ask yourself about your social media presence.
Can Employers Find You On Social Media?
Think about whether a potential employer can easily see your social media posts. When you set up your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts, consider not using your real name. Also, you might not want to use your photo as a profile picture. Making your accounts more anonymous – so that only your real friends can find it – will make it much easier to keep it private.
Within your social media accounts, check your settings to make sure that anything you want to stay private really is private. It’s easy to accidently change something, or have one setting wrong, which opens up all sorts of supposedly private information to the outside world.
Also, don’t forget you can be tagged in things other people post online. You may exist in the cyber world in ways outside your direct control.
Is Everything You Post Appropriate for Work?
Remember: Employers want everything to be as uncontroversial as possible. So while social media might seem like a good place to vent, letting every opinion out on Twitter might come back to haunt you.
It may seem like you’re giving in to the tyranny of a surveillance culture. But then again, maybe there’s something to be said for reserve and decorum.
Either way, remember that what you say online can have consequences. You may have the right to free speech, but companies have the right to hire someone else.
Does Your Social Media Require Rehab?
Still having to answer for that thing you posted in high school? It might be time to give your social media presence a good scrubbing.
Look at James Gunn. The well-respected director of the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy movies lost his gig at the helm of the third film in the series due to backlash after some of his posts on social media. The catch? The posts in question had happened about a decade before.
So, make sure everything embarrassing from your past has been deleted. In extreme situations, there are even professional services that will rehab your past social media for you, keeping your current job prospects secure.
Are You Using Social Media to Improve Your Cause?
So far, we’ve touched on the ways your social media presence can hurt your job prospects. But there’s an opportunity for you to actively improve your chances to land a position.
Use your accounts as your personal PR. Think of the ways companies use their social media accounts: To promote a brand and build a positive feeling about them. Do the same thing. Posting pictures from your charity 5K, or of you coaching a kids’ softball team can promote qualities about you that might not show up on a resume.
When building that personal brand, it’s helpful to have a partner. A strong staffing agency can clue you into the sort of things employers are looking for. Contact PrideStaff today to talk to their recruiting experts about maximizing your career advancement.