Social media is now a completely integrated part of our day to day lives, and because of that it’s a great way for potential employers and HR staff to get a feel for your skills and expertise before even replying to an application email you’ve sent. Your online persona can influence whether that employer feels you’re right for a position, which can be incredibly disheartening when you think you’ve found “the one”: that elusive perfect job. So, as we’re all about solutions, not moaning about problems, we’ve spoken to our applicant-facing HR team, as well as our Social Content Manager, to see the most common mistakes we’ve seen people making on social media, and how you can avoid them and make your profiles stand out from the crowd (in a good way, of course!)
1. Public Profiles
Hopefully by now you’re well aware that certain aspects, if not all, of your social profiles are public. That means that anyone, including your potential future employer, can see exactly what you post. This is where it can get dangerous; they don’t want to see that you retweeted a sexist post, or recently liked an article that contained racist content. Just posted an update bitching about your current boss or colleagues? Eek, that’s not going to impress the person reviewing your application!
Solution: Keep negative thoughts offline and ring your friend for a natter about a tough day you’ve had, instead. You can also check, on Facebook, to see how much of your profile’s content is visible; this is a brilliant way to make sure only your friends can view your photos and updates.
2. Inappropriate Images
When looking to start a career, your employer doesn’t need to know about that wild night at uni where you and your friend dressed as cavemen. It doesn’t look professional and the likelihood of being asked about it in the interview is pretty high.
Solution: Keep all Facebook albums private and choose a profile photo showing your lovely smiling face, not a drunken night on the town. Same with Instagram, either make your profile private or make sure that the type of images you post are ones that you wouldn’t mind showing to your Granny.
3. Immature Usernames
Remember when you got your first email address? The early 00s were a time of x_x_cheeky.chick_x_x and _il0veb00bs_, most of us didn’t have the foresight, or the inclination, to be sensible and just use our full names. Nowadays those cutesie, funny usernames that were lolz when you were 14 are just not going to cut it, and emailing your ridiculous email or Skype username to an employer could seriously damage your chances of getting a call back.
Solution: set up a professional email account! It’s so quick and simple to do and firstname.lastname@example.org looks SO much better (and more professional!) Plus you get the added bonus of keeping your personal and private emails separate so there’s no nasty accidental emails about a night at the pub sent to your new head of HR!
4. Your Social Persona Not Matching the Job You Applied For
Public social profiles such as Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the perfect way to project an image of yourself to the outside world. The things you share, and reshare from others, allow outsiders to gauge what you’re interested in, how you feel about certain topics, and ascertain the type of person that you are. We often do this subconsciously, however, the image you project is extremely important. Applying for a role in PR? With just a few contacts and no recent LinkedIn updates, it’s not looking good. Looking for the perfect developer role? Not talking about the latest updates in your field and sharing relevant content just put you second place after another applicant.
Solution: make the most of the profiles you have! Share industry news, whichever area of expertise you want to work in. Interact with influencers in your field, and show that you really are as interested as your cover letter makes out.
5. Professional Profiles Don’t Match with the Information on Your CV
LinkedIn, Xing… all of these profession profiles are a great way to add to the information you’ve provided on your CV, so don’t let them tell different stories! All work dates, places, job titles and duties should appear the same whichever source a recruiter references.
Solution: If you can’t quite remember the exact details of your first job, leave it out of your profile; same as your CV, just focus on the most recent and relevant positions you’ve held and never ever lie: that one will always come back to bite you in the bum!
Despite the things that can go awry on social, the profiles you have can really strengthen any job application you make. By being mindful of the content you publish, you’re able to show that you are more than your work experience, but a well-rounded and interesting future employee. Good luck!