Springtime is often associated with new beginnings. Trees blossom, flowers bloom, love is in the air and so on. Even our home, garage and office space get a bit of a makeover as many of us engage (with varying levels of enthusiasm) in “spring cleaning.”
In keeping with the spirit of the season, so to speak, job seekers should conduct their own spring cleaning to help facilitate their employment search or to give it a sense of renewed purpose and a fresh appearance. One way to accomplish this is to focus on cleaning up your pages on social media/social networking sites (SNS).
We see you, sitting there reading this, shaking your head and muttering under your breath “Are they kidding? After all the time I spent getting my online presence squared away.?” No, we’re not kidding. Social media spring cleaning really isn’t difficult (and less tiresome than cleaning out that garage).
Here, then, is an easy, step-by-step guide of items for job seekers to consider to ensure that your online presence actually conveys the personality, character and marketable characteristics you want prospective employers to see.
Face the face. Look in the mirror, figuratively speaking. Evaluate the persona you’ve created online, whether it be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or what have you, as if you were a prospective employer. Would you hire you? While you may consider it unimportant or believe (understandably) that what you put on Facebook is not an employer’s business, you would be wrong. In fact, a recent study reports that 68 percent of employers will find job seekers on Facebook.
Search yourself. On Google, Yahoo, Bing and employment-related search engines. If the results include negative content that links to your social networking pages, go there and delete it.
What were you thinking? Are there posts that seemed like a good idea at the time but may be too offensive or too political for some? Yes, we know, a company can’t deny job seekers employment for pre-employment freedom of speech or association. But they don’t have to tell you that’s why you weren’t hired either. So use your privacy settings to restrict access to personal information you want to keep private.
Check your Twitter timeline to see if there’s something there that’s unprofessional, if not outright inappropriate, and either delete it or start a new one. Yes, we know that’s a drastic step, but choosing between standing on principle and advancing your career should be a no-brainer.
Profiling. Job seekers often don’t consider the fact that prospective employers actually do spend time scouring personal profiles included on platforms such as LinkedIn.
Make sure your profile is complete, accurate and consistent with all other representations of your education, training and work experience (e.g., your resume) and that it conveys both the character and characteristics that render you a suitable candidate for employment.
Be consistently consistent. Although the audience may differ from one form of social media to another and the language you use may change as well, your basic information and personality should appear to be similar across all SNS platforms.
We get by with a little help from our friends. Whether you use a friend, mentor or trusted colleague to do it for you, have someone review your online presence across all platforms with instructions to critique, not compliment. An objective eye is better than your own. Remember, when it comes to assessing you, your ego is not your amigo.
Take out the trash. As with any good cleanup, you’re not finished until you dispose of all of the stuff you no longer need to, want to or should keep.