Job Hunt 3 – Social Media and The Hunt
Now that you’ve had a week to update your resume I’m sure you’re all excited to start sending it out to companies and really start to improve your life. I certainly want that for you as well, but there is something we need to do first…and this is a doosy.
We need to prep your social media accounts for your impending job search!
Let’s face it. Everyone uses social media now. You post your whole life on there in pictures, geotags, and comments. It’s always fun to share this information with friends and families, however, if you don’t take the proper precautions these social media sites that you love to post on could cost you a job offer if you aren’t careful.
Twenty years ago HR representatives wouldn’t know anything about you that wasn’t on your resume, they wouldn’t even know what you looked like until you walked through the door to share their hand at the interview. Those days are long gone, and just as you use social media sites to share funny links and post pictures that you want remember, HR is now using these very same social media sites to do their homework on you before you even get the call to come in for an in person interview.
They will look at everything, in one way, to verify that you are who you say you are and that you aren’t lying on your resume, but also to see how you represent yourself outside of the office.
HR representatives won’t fully admit they are doing this, but if your profile is open to the public and able to be viewed by anyone, they don’t need to – and you need to expect that they will.
Let’s quickly review how to lock down your Facebook profile so that not just anybody can log in and see everything you have ever posted.
- In the upper righthand corner of the Facebook web page click on the down arrow next to the question mark in a circle.
- Click on Settings
- In the lefthand pane click on Privacy – you should see this below
4. This is how I have my Facebook settings currently. Essentially the way I have this setup is so that only people I am actually friends with can see what I am posting, and I’ve gone through and limited older posts that weren’t always under these security settings so that they aren’t public anymore. ALSO – turn off the last option “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile”.
Now your Facebook should be secure and no “strangers” can view any of the material on your page.
The next step of cleaning up your social image is Google yourself.
I’m serious. Google your name and look at what results pop up. If anything looks inappropriate – it would probably be in your best interest to find out what website is, and send off an email – or scrub your current website you run and make sure that those odd links are taken down.
I would also click on the Google Images tab when you search your name and see what types of images pop up. If there are pictures of you chugging beers and flipping the bird, best to find a way to get yourself untagged from those images.
Do you have a Twitter? If so, what kind of content are you posting? Are you heavily protesting our current President? Are you using colorful language when you talk about specific celebrities – or are you tweeting those celebrities directly with offensive language?
First and foremost – I hope not! If you are, you might want to think about cleaning up your Twitter image. I once held a position where I was helping the VP find a new hire. We found a candidate that was very well qualified, and he interviewed spectacularly…but when we found his Twitter account we found that he had a hobby of Tweeting hateful things at celebrities and politicians. He did not get the position.
When you are looking for a job, you are under constant scrutiny by HR. You have to make sure that your online image conforms to how you want to be perceived.
Do you have a LinkedIn account? If the answer is “no”. Go make one. Now.
This is your single most useful tool while on the job hunt. On LinkedIn you can post your resume, connect with colleagues, and even apply to jobs. This is the ultimate website for job hunting. I highly recommend that you get an account, put a nice, professional looking head shot on there, and really do your best to connect with old colleagues who might be willing to write a recommendation for you.
There is never any harm in asking people for recommendations.
If you do have a LinkedIn account – let me ask you a question…how are you using it? Do you read interesting business related blogs and post insightful business related posts? Or are you using this like Facebook?
If you’re using LinkedIn like Facebook, liking everything, posting all kinds of personal stuff. STOP!!!!! Delete all those posts and start fresh. You need to keep this site neat, clean, and professional.
What do you use for your email account? Yahoo? Hotmail? Gmail?
If you have a Gmail account for everyday personal use – use it for your job search. Hopefully your email is in a simple format like “firstname.lastname@example.org”. You don’t want to put your email of “email@example.com” on your resume.
If you’re using Yahoo or Hotmail, or if your Gmail user name is less than professional – time to make a brand spanking new Gmail account. This is especially important if you are going to apply to jobs in the technology industry.
Google and its products are seen as forward thinking, secure, and “the norm”. If you are trying to break into the world of IT and you are using a hotmail account, your resume will be thrown in the garbage can before it is even looked at. I’m not joking.
Always, always, use a gmail account for any of your job search emails, and if it is a second account, now you know that any emails that come in are job related and not personal.
No Social Networking Accounts
You might be one of the few people that is chuckling to yourself saying “Well, Onesheet, I don’t need to worry about any of this stuff because I don’t have any social media accounts. So thanks for wasting my time.” Well I’ve got news for you “Mr. Off the grid”, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot in the job search.
A study* was conducted by Time Magazine in 2012 and shows that not having a social media account at all makes you look suspicious.
I’ve heard both job seekers and employers wonder aloud about what it means if a job candidate doesn’t have a Facebook account. Does it mean they deactivated it because it was full of red flags? Are they hiding something? … It does seem that increasingly, it’s expected that everyone is on Facebook in some capacity, and that a negative assumption is starting to arise about those who reject the Big Blue Giant’s siren call.
So all in all, when you are searching for jobs – you no longer have the anonymity to live your “work” life and your “social” life. Everything is recorded and documented, so make smart choices and be on good social network behavior, and you shouldn’t run into any issues when going through the job searching process!