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Unless you have been living in a cave for the last few years, it is pretty hard not to have noticed how entwined our world has become with social media.

Gone are the times that we only use social media to talk to our friends, we now use the platforms to interact with TV shows, voice customer service issues, contribute to worldly debates and build relationships with total strangers. Now as most of us aren’t stupid, we know that when applying for jobs, future employees will scope out our Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Just type in “social media” to an online search and you will be presented with an abundance of horror stories about how inappropriate use of social media cost somebody their dream job.

Research by CareerBuilder revealed that 2 in 5 hiring managers have been put off from hiring a candidate because of what they stumbled across on social media. A figure which had increased by 9% compared to the previous year. We are becoming more aware of the impact that social media has on our lives, so why are we getting it so wrong? Here are a few tips to help you get it right:

1) Don’t hide behind privacy settings:

We are all guilty of sitting in glass towers laughing at the public profile fools, thinking our drunken snaps are safely hidden away from the prying eyes of the future employer. However, did you know that anybody can see your tagged photos if whoever uploaded the album has made the album public?

An employer can log on and all of your unprivate tagged photos will be readily available for anyone to view. Make sure you have your privacy settings locked down. Facebook status privacy settings have been known to change when posted from a mobile device, however secure you think your private settings are make sure you double check before posting.

2) Don’t wish me luck:

So you have a hundred different interviews for entirely different roles? Don’t let your friends wish you luck all over your social accounts. Chances are employers will see the goodwill gestures and think you aren’t serious about their job opportunity and are merely adopting a scattergun approach to finding a better role.

3) Don’t be a lurker, get involved!

You may think that employers are logging on to dig some dirt on you, but the reality is they are just trying to get a fuller picture of a potential new employee. It is important that you fit in well with the work culture, so employers often look for evidence of a well-rounded individual that they could envisage working with.

You may not be displaying any negative qualities through your social media, but inactivity doesn’t show off any good qualities either. 1 in 5 hiring managers surveyed by CareerBuilder, claimed that they found something on a social media profile that confirmed their decision to make the candidate an offer, including having a wide range of interests.

We all know that nobody likes a show off, but social media is a great way to flaunt your achievements without looking out of place. Stating you are an expert baker in a legal interview may seem a little unorthodox, but showing off your culinary talents online will score you brownie points. Get involved with discussions, network with people and post engaging pictures about your hobbies to demonstrate what a well-rounded individual you are.

4) Don’t voice controversial opinions:

 While it is important to get involved with discussions online and flex your ideological muscles, nobody wants to employ an overly-opinionated loudmouth. To employers, your passion could come across as argumentative and you may seem difficult. Steer away from controversial issues if you want to keep the peace between you and your future employer.

5) Don’t be a fake:

Although social media is often used to paint a shining picture of yourself, don’t stray so far away from the truth that you become a different person. It’s a bit like lying on your CV – you shouldn’t do it. While having active hobbies can be helpful, you don’t need to climb mountains at the weekend to land your dream job.

It will also be painstakingly obvious if you go for a job interview and suddenly start tweeting everything about the industry you interviewed for. Keep your social media consistent, and if you are going to go down the industry-themed route make sure you do your preparation and start well before you apply to avoid your efforts looking forced.

Takeaways:

  • If you managed to get through the interview and your employer is looking into your profile, chances are they already like you.
  • Social media shouldn’t be a corporate chore, by all means show off your unique personality online and have some fun, but consider your audience and whether there will be any consequences from what you post. If you are unsure about how your chosen industry will react to your social media, it’s better to play it safe and keep it tame.
  • Be the best version of yourself on social media, think before you post and keep active!

Author: Nick Taylor is a Marketing Executive at Forward Role Recruitment, a leading digital marketing agency in the North West. Forward Role specialise in finding exceptional candidates their dream role within SEO, PPC, Social Media and other digital industry positions, by delivering a personalised and expert service that guarantees the right person is placed in the right job.


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