It goes without saying that graduate employers are also no stranger to social media usage. A 2017 survey by CareerBuilder showed that 70 percent of employers worldwide use social media to screen jobseeker candidates. What’s more, 54 percent of employers surveyed that they’ve rejected candidates based on content found on their social media profiles. And recruiters’ familiarity with social media as a hiring tool has only grown in the years since then! With that said, it’s wise to take steps to manage your online reputation and find a balance between displaying a professional online presence while still having fun on social media. Here are some tips on how you can pull that off.
Draw A Line Between Personal and Professional
Keeping your personal and professional lives on social media separate is a good first step to manage your online reputation and avoid any awkward crossovers.
Should you allow people in your professional network to be friends with you on Facebook and Instagram? If you do or decide to make your accounts public, are you still keen on sharing the content you currently post? What about sharing career-related content on your feed that your friends and family can read? How would you feel if they were publicly commenting on it? These are all important questions to think about.
Start by categorizing your social media platforms between those for professional and private use. LinkedIn is built for career-related functions, so you can use LinkedIn for job hunting while keeping your other platforms (e.g., Instagram, TikTok and Facebook) purely for socializing and entertainment.
You may also want to set up two different accounts on one social media platform, especially if you plan on engaging with potential employers online. For example, you could have two Twitter accounts – with one following employers and job trends, and the other to keep up with your friends, family and favourite content creators. Just don’t forget to always check which account you’re signed in with at any time!
Make Use Of Your Privacy Settings
Most social media sites allow you to ‘Private’ your profile, meaning your content is available only to your existing followers and friends, and you’ll need to approve or accept new requests for them to view your content.
It’s crucial to note that this privacy option will direct any messages from outsiders to a different inbox than your regular one (e.g., Facebook puts these in ‘Message Requests’ while Instagram directs them to a ‘Requests’ page other than your primary and general inboxes). So be sure to check these special inboxes to not miss any messages from potential employers.
There’s also the option to reduce the content that people can see on your profiles, customizing your settings to allow your audience to view selected content only. For example, on Instagram, you can create a list of close friends to only share your ‘story’ with or hide it from specific accounts.
Twitter allows you to control the visibility of your tweets and limit others to retweet or share your content. On Facebook, you can display a reduced profile to people you aren’t friends with and review posts that you’re tagged in before the post appears on your profile.
Audit Your Social Media Posts
Aside from using privacy settings to your advantage, if you plan to have your profiles fully public, it’s worth going through them to check and filter out any content that you’d rather hide from the public eye.
It’s worth remembering that social media can often be a very toxic place, so make sure you don’t get caught up in it. Avoid sharing or reposting fake news or unfounded conspiracy theories. Stay away from heated online arguments or debates on potentially controversial topics. And most importantly, make sure you avoid posting anything endorsing any form of discrimination against another group of people.
Remember to check your profile picture, usernames and bios to make sure they’re not raising any eyebrows. Those are some of the first things that everyone – especially employers - can see from your accounts.
After you’ve given your accounts a thorough audit, go ahead and pop your name into a search engine (use an incognito window to prevent your search history from affecting the search results) and see what appears. That way, you’re putting yourself in the shoes of an outsider and see what they would see on your profile.