Careers: Social Media
Note: this section is not intended to replace advice given by a careers guidance service. If you have access to a guidance & information service, you should make use of that: advice from a dedicated and specialist service is always better.
Most people have one or more social media accounts. Social media is good fun, but it also provides opportunities for you to to create a profile that can increase your chances of employment. You can show the world, and potential employers your best side. On the other hand, when you post something to social media, unless you've made your account private, it's available for the world to see. Because it's online as opposed to face-to-face, it's easy to post stuff that you wouldn't say in real life or only say to a few close friends; you might tell your best friend that you managed to cheat in an exam, but it'd be really stupid to boast about it on Twitter (a true story). A 2017 survey by the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that over 80% of employers who responded to the survey use social media in the recruiting process, and over 40% of employers said that they screened job candidates through looking at social networks and using search engines.
The same survey found that 36% of respondents disqualified job candidates after searching online or looking at an applicant’s social media. 36%! And that was in 2017.
Have a look for yourself online and look at your social media posts. Ask yourself:
- Does what you find show yourself in the best light? (photos, content)
- Would you want an employer, or new work colleagues, to see your posts?
- Does what you find online support or contradict what you’ve put in your CV and job applications?
- Depending upon the type of job you're looking for, if you found nothing, is that really helpful?
There are some things you can do to clean up your social media profile, if you feel you need to do this:
- Learn how to use the privacy settings on all of your social media platforms
- Monitor what other people are posting to your pages
- Ask others to remove photos or inappropriate mentions of you from social media sites.
- Don’t make negative or inappropriate comments or jokes about people or organisations
- Think twice before you press the post button
- Think about having professional (public) and personal (private) accounts