Getting Ready to Apply for a Job? It’s Time to Curate Your Social Media!
[Portions of this blog-post were first published in the January 31, 2019 issue of the Collegiate Communique sponsored by the PMEA State Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention.]
Have you ever gone on the Internet and searched for your name? Have you assessed what your image (and “personal brand”) say about you on all the social media platforms?
According to a McAfee family safety blog, in anticipation of future employers researching you and everything with your name on it, you should make a concerted effort to “launder” your online presence.
People are watching you right now. Like it or not — agree with the intrusion or not — you are being Googled, judged, and analyzed by the body of content you’ve posted online. Whether you are applying to a college, for a summer job, or even currently employed, you can bet someone who matters to your future is on your digital trail.
Also recommended by Birdsong, the new “best practice” is to A) clean up any questionable content from all social profiles and B) design your social content in a way that “reflects your best self.” This means you should delete permanently from Facebook and other platforms:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or posts
- Posts or photos that include drinking or using drugs
- Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.
- Content that complains about a previous employer or colleague
- Posts that are overly cynical, grumpy, or mean
Instead, your profile information should reflect integrity and responsibility, so you should expand or add content that:
- Projects a professional image
- Shows a friendly, positive personality
- Demonstrates that you are well-rounded, with wide range of interests
- Models that you have great communication skills
Think the whole “future employers checking your social media accounts” thing is just an annoying urban legend? Think again.
It turns out that one in three employers have rejected candidates based on something they found out about them online.
The McAfee blog really does a good job summing up ten steps to a better online presence:
- Make a hit list
- Think like the decision maker.
- Streamline your selfies.
- Review past blogs.
- Google yourself.
- Inventory all social profiles.
- Edit your Twitter feed.
- Secure names and URLs.
- Change your online persona – for good.
- Start a career-focused Blog.
There are many samples for that last tip, my favorite from a former student of mine freely sharing his professional website at daviddockan.com. (Use “Music” for the password.) David included his resume, philosophy of music education, employment history, and photo/video samples of his teaching… a very powerful digital portfolio and marketing/branding technique… and of course, he landed his first music teacher job immediately after graduating from West Virginia University!
If you need more than ten suggestions or a lot more detailed instructions based on the specific social media platforms, check out “30 Quick Tips to Spring Clean Your Social Media Presence” by Yvonne Dutchover.
Related articles previously posted at this site:
Employers can learn a lot about you from your resume and interview, but sometimes it takes a little bit more to sell yourself (although there’s a delicate balance between selling yourself and being transparent in the hiring process). Take advantage of the benefits of social media – it’s an often-needed extra step to show what you bring to the table, a way to add flair to your application, and make a lasting impression on your potential employers.
In short, keep it clean and professional! “Police” your social media image and brand. And, as they say, “break a leg” at your interviews! Good luck in job hunting!
© 2019 Paul K. Fox
Photo credits in order from Pixabay.com: “social media” by Alexas_Fotos, “banner” and “tree” by geralt, “laptop” by JESHOOTS-com, “notebook” by FirmBee, “personal” by geralt, “career” by mohamed_hassan, “online” by kreatikar, and “job” by Tumisu.