Social media fails are all very funny when they’re happening to someone else. But when you’re a fresh graduate looking for your first job, you’ve got to make sure your accounts are not failing you.
Social media and jobs go hand in hand nowadays, with more than 60 per cent of employers saying they have rejected a candidate because of their online posts.
Despite this, only about 30 per cent of young people worry about their old posts coming back to haunt them when they’re job-hunting, despite it clearly being part of the vetting process.
Meanwhile, those online profiles have had the opposite effect on some employers, who took on new staff after being impressed by what they saw – whether that’s creativity, great communication skills, a well-rounded range of interests or just getting a feel for their personality.
So there’s no hiding from the fact that what you put up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn reflects on you, social media fails or no.
What are the options?
Clearly, there are two options. You could make all your accounts “private” to keep the vetters out. Or you could go about building a personal brand to show yourself in the best possible light.
For the first option, you’d be looking to make your posts only available to friends, as well as limiting the ability to view your profile or be tagged in pictures by other people. You’ll find ways to control this in the privacy settings.
Facebook and Twitter also have ways of limiting the audience for older posts, if you have embarrassing pictures from high school parties you’d rather the world didn’t see. And it’s best to get rid of any tweets slagging off an old boss – that won’t go down well.
You’d do well to remember that even if your account is private, people can see the profile pic – make sure there’s nothing there to embarrass you.
Building your personal brand
The other option, building that brand, takes more work. You’ll want consistency across your social media and jobs come to those who think about others’ perceptions of them – so a cohesive image with properly sized and cropped profile pictures are the first order of business.
Make sure spelling and grammar are correct. Don’t be afraid to be yourself – let people see your personality, opinions, ideas and creativity. But always ask yourself what your parents or grandparents would think about what they saw.
Remember, too, that vetters will be able to back-up or disprove claims you make in CVs, covering letters and interviews by checking your online profile – the gap between social media and jobs is growing ever smaller.
And there’s one social site you need to bring your A-game to … LinkedIn. Professionals check out professionals there, so be sure your profile and picture are bang up-to-date and that you’re using it to make appropriate connections that will help you widen your business circle.
Your social media fails you in your professional life only when you don’t pay attention to how what you’re posting may be interpreted.