Are Your Social Media Accounts Good References?

Are Your Social Media Accounts Good References?

It seems a little strange to think of social media as a job reference. After all, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn aren’t people a potential employer can call to ask about your work performance. However, just like your professional references—your social media accounts reveal a lot about your personality and can make or break your candidacy for a new position.

A 2016 CareerBuilder survey found that 60 percent of employers research potential candidates on social media. You’ve put a lot of effort into your resume and your employment references. What can you do to make sure your social media presence is a good reference?

Here are 6 ways to make your social media profile more appealing to potential employers:

1. Don’t make everything private.

After finding out how many employers look at your social media accounts, you may be tempted to “go dark” by making all your information private. However, having no public social media presence can backfire because potential employers may think you have something to hide. Worse, they may think you don’t know how to use social media accounts, or that you’re not keeping up with the latest technology.

2. Use several types of social media.

Having more than one social media account can help your job candidacy. According to an article in The Muse, “Every job seeker should have a LinkedIn account, and a Facebook or Twitter to show that you’re a real person doesn’t hurt.” Make sure your accounts–especially LinkedIn–have your complete, updated information.

However, you don’t need to use every type of social media–that can make potential employers think you’re more likely to spend work time posting on your many accounts.

3. Use professional profile photos.

Look at your profile pictures the way a potential employer would. Are you showing too much skin? Making a crazy face? Is the picture of an animal, child, or something else that’s not you? Show employers that you’re approachable, likable, and professional by using simple, clean-cut photos of yourself.

4. Clean up your accounts.

According to an article in Entrepreneur, 50 percent of job candidates disqualified themselves from a job based on what they posted on social media. Don’t post anything that could be misconstrued as hateful, derogatory, or otherwise offensive to anyone. This could mean profanity, drug and alcohol-related posts, political rants, or other questionable behavior. If you’ve posted things like this in the past, get rid of them. You may need to use a social media scrubbing service.

5. Don’t look desperate.

People who are desperate for love are unlikely to get dates. The same applies to job seekers—desperation makes you less desirable to employers. Employers want to hire confident, likable candidates whose skills are in demand.

6. Write and share relevant posts.

Before posting anything on social media, ask yourself if this information is helpful to others. A helpful post could contain useful information or just brighten someone’s day. Negative posts, such as whines and rants, are not helpful and will give a bad impression to potential employers.

To show you have industry knowledge, join Facebook and LinkedIn groups relevant to your current or desired position. Make supportive and beneficial contributions to these pages. Tweet about your industry, using relevant keywords and hashtags. All of these types of social media posts help you build a better brand for yourself. Job candidates with an impressive brand increase their chances of getting job offers.

Social media isn’t just personal anymore. Be aware that employers are likely to investigate you on social media accounts before offering you a job. Your awareness of this fact can help you put your best (digital) face forward.

To find out how we can help in your search for the perfect job, contact us.