As a former high school teacher, I vividly remember the day a student of mine posted on Facebook; something that was in bad judgment. Something that could and would eventually hurt him. He was in college full-time and when I saw what he posted, I had to reach out and say something via private message.
Well, he didn’t take it so well. Instead, he decided to tell me that what he posted was for him and his friends and no one else.
Little did he know just how wrong he was. And little did he know that despite the privacy settings he had, others could still see his posts, his pictures, and his content.
Here’s the hard-core truth: future employers are checking you out on social media. Your first impression is being made online, not during the interview process. It’s your online presence that will open the door for that first interview, or it will slam that door shut.
According to Career Builder, “Social media recruitment is on the rise. Fifty-two percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up significantly from 43 percent last year and 39 percent in 2013.” And, “Forty-eight percent of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate (Career Builder, 2015).”
What is a young professional to do? Here are 8 tips that will help you stand out online in a good way:
Keep your emotions in check:
Welcome to adulthood; where you have to keep your emotions and words in check. Yes, we all have those people in our lives that rub us the wrong way, but please know that social media is not the place to air all of your dirty laundry You may be trying to prove a point via your post, but truthfully, all it’s doing is making you look bad.
Avoid online conflicts:
Here’s are some questions to ask yourself: Is this really going to matter in the long run? Is it that important to get your point across or to have the last word? Does the online world really need to see and read this? Is this conflict worth me losing a job over?
Social media is NOT the place for conflicts. All it does is make you look bad. Avoid them at all costs.
There is no separation between your personal and professional life:
We would like to believe that we can separate our personal and professional lives online, but it’s not possible. Everything you do and say reflects who you are as an individual and who you are as a professional. What you do on a daily basis gives insight into what you will do at your job. What you say gives insight into how you will communicate in your career. Don’t fall for the lie that these two areas can be separated; they just can’t.
Watch your words:
Your words, your grammar matters on social media. Write in such a way that shows you know how to communicate effectively. According to Career Builder, 37 percent of hiring managers would hire a candidate that had great communication skills via their social media platforms. Your words, your grammar matters. Text abbreviations on social media are not recommended.
Never, ever complain about your job, coworkers or boss:
Unfortunately, this is becoming the norm; I see it every day. And what most professionals don’t realize is that it’s closing doors for them on a regular basis. The hiring manager for your dream job may have been interested in you and learning more about you, but as soon as you posted that negative, whiny complaint about your current job, coworkers and supervisor, that door immediately shut. And then you’re left wondering why you can’t get the dream job or raise you’ve been hoping and praying for.
Did you know that “51 percent of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates (Career Builder, 2015)?” Have you ever thought about conducting a Google search on yourself? If not, now is the time. Search for yourself on Google and see what comes up. Is it good; is it bad? Are you creating a positive personal brand for yourself online? If not, what needs to change?
Don’t rely on your privacy settings:
Your privacy settings mean nothing. Yes, it’s nice to think that only your friends can see your posts, but truthfully if someone really wanted to see what you are posting, saying, uploading, etc., they can find out. Don’t expect your privacy settings to keep you safe. As soon as you post something online (whether it’s “private” or not), you’ve granted permission for the whole world to see it.
Ultimately, it all comes down to being someone who is worth following. If you want to be hired, you need to set yourself apart. You need to choose to #BeDifferent. Think before you post.
Are you worth hiring?