Did you know, 65% of recruiters admit they use social networks to screen the professionalism of a candidate? What do you find when you Google your first and last name? Many recruiters will search for a candidate online, and your social media accounts are an information goldmine. The information you share about yourself online can allow potential employers to check your academic background, the qualifications listed on your CV, even your interests and affiliations to see if you’re a culture fit for the organisation. 43% of recruiters said they’ve eliminated an applicant from their shortlist based on their online reputation and social media activity.
First impressions count, and in today’s digital landscape there’s a whole lot more than a well-formatted CV and a firm handshake to create a good impression with a potential employer.
Does it all sound a bit nosey? Well, it’s in an employer’s best interests to determine if you are is a good fit for the business, and they have more tools at their disposal than ever before. A huge amount of effort and resource goes into hiring, from advertising for roles, to interviewing, induction and training, so they want to make sure they get the right person for the job, and that you’ll be a positive reflection of the business’s brand and values.
6 tips to improving your digital presence
There are several ways to tidy up your social media profile and make sure you stand out – for the right reasons – to any prospective employers looking you up online.
1. Google yourself.
Search your full name online to see what a recruiter might find. Identify the websites with content featuring your name - if they link to your social media profile, click through and check they present the professional image you’re going for. You might find links to old accounts you’ve forgotten about – consider closing those ones. Scroll through at least two pages of search results to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
2. Have a professional profile photo.
Especially on sites such as LinkedIn, prospective employers will expect you to have a clear, professional headshot on your profile. You don’t have to go too formal, but it’s a good idea to look well-presented and alert, with a good quality image.
3. Remove inappropriate media.
Delete any pictures, posts or comments that don’t match your reputation and image. Check the pages you follow – these give recruiters an insight into your interests, so remove anything controversial. Social networks like Facebook also have features which allow you to control what images you can be tagged in, so make use of these.
4. Join career-relevant groups.
Social media has an endless number of groups, communities and pages, that you can use for networking with other professionals in your job sector and to keep up to date on industry news. If however your current list is more ‘cats sitting on things’ than industry news, it might be a good time to diversify. Following a couple of just-for-fun pages is completely fine – and who doesn’t like those cat videos? But make sure you are a member of some groups related to your actual or targeted job – especially if your CV emphasises your interest in the industry.
5. Tighten up your privacy settings.
Be wary about how much of your personal information is available publicly. If you prefer to keep your social accounts more relaxed and personal, make sure you understand the privacy settings and adjust them in-line with what you’re comfortable sharing.
6. Use keywords to make sure recruiters can find you.
Assuming you are happy for your profile to be seen by potential employers, you can maximise the chance of getting seen – and screened – for roles. Over 84% of organizations use social media for recruiting, which includes targeting via keywords to find individuals with skills and interests matching the requirements of the role they’re hiring for. Including job titles, skills, and industry keywords on your profile means you’re more likely to be discovered by a recruiter. You’re also more likely to be shown sponsored posts which highlight relevant job vacancies the company or recruiter is trying to fill.
Interviews. We’ve all been there and we know they’re not fun. But just remember: thousands of people sit interviews every day and come out the other side relatively unscathed.