Three out of five – those are the odds that a hiring manager will research your social media presence before your interview, according to a recent study released by Careerbuilder. While this may not be surprising, it underscores an increasingly important fact: your social media profiles affect how people perceive you as a professional which, of course, can impact the likelihood that you’ll be hired.
Careerbuilder also found that 49% of hiring managers chose not to hire a candidate based on what they found on his or her social media profiles. What could they possibly see on Facebook or Twitter that would disqualify a candidate from employment? The most common red flags were:
With only 32% of hiring managers finding information on social networks that prompted them to hire a candidate, developing a social persona that reinforces your professional qualifications can help you stand out in the crowd. Here are some tips to get your social profiles career-ready:
Write regularly about your field or interest areas, which can go a long way in establishing you as an expert. Stay involved in topics that relate to your career by sharing articles you find interesting, and share meaningful comments on trends and news that relate to your job or area of expertise. Great content is always the most meaningful way of engaging others – so feel free to share less, but make sure what you do share is compelling content that others will find valuable.
Stay professional. Maintain the same professional image and air of decorum you would present in a professional working environment. Keep non-professional images private. With inappropriate and provocative photos being the top culprit behind lost employment opportunities, take a long look at the images you share publicly online. While meant for your friends, these photos are also being seen by future employers to judge your suitability for their companies. You may want to set sensitive photos to a higher privacy setting, perhaps only viewable by your closest friends.
Avoid coming across as being overly political or cynical as you post your opinions. No one wants to suppress your right to free speech, but do realize that, while respectful debate is seldom frowned upon, overly negative or dismissive speech on either side can hurt your chances of scoring that job you’ve always wanted.
Use proper spelling and grammar, and put your thoughts forward in the appropriate context. Your communication skills matter. Even though you may feel your personal social media accounts don’t require that level of attention to detail, they still tell a story about your communication skills to employers.
Last but not the least, Google yourself. Keep track of what shows up about you in search engines. To make sure your search results showcase your professionalism and experience, participate in networks and communities that matter.
Do you have an experience where your social media presence helped or hurt your career? Let us know in the comments.