We live in an age of social media.
Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn or any one of the myriad of other platforms, there are few of us who don’t have one kind of digital footprint or another these days.
But with the opportunities that social media can provide come some risks too.
And if you are in the market for a new job, it makes sense to be aware of just what some of those risks might be.
Consider this: A recent survey from CV-Library asked 1,100 UK workers and over 200 recruitment professionals what their attitudes were towards social media and the impact it has on employability.
Just short of 70 per cent of recruiters admitted they sifted through candidates’ social media profiles as part of the job-filling process – and that they were then influenced by what they found.
That’s a pretty powerful statistic. If nothing else, it proves beyond doubt that you should expect to have your profile checked out by a potential employer and should be wary of just what you post and share.
The same survey found that 78.1% of professionals believe recruiters would judge them based on what they post and, as a result, nearly two-thirds of them were more cautious on social media whilst they were actively job hunting.
But in the same breath, close to 30 per cent also admitted they don’t set their profiles to private even though they expect would-be employers to put their names into Google.
In a world now dominated by selfies, pictures were an area of particular interest.
A whopping 61.2 per cent of recruiters thought selfies were unprofessional and should not be used on professional profiles such as LinkedIn. So the next time you pull out your smart phone to snap yourself enjoying one more shot of vodka in your favourite club, you might want to think again.
If you’re in the market for that all-important new job, what steps should you take to make sure your digital profile is working in your favour and not against you?
Firstly, sift through your social media and remove any inappropriate content. Remember the case of Phil Neville, the newly-appointed England women’s football manager? No sooner was he appointed than a series of tweets in which he was less than generous to women were revealed. He kept his job but suffered an uncomfortable period of embarrassment he could easily have avoided.
Then, make sure you have set all your profiles to private. This is good practice in any event (particularly as more and more news comes to light about the way social media sites pass on our information) but particularly important during the job-hunting process.
By doing so, you’ll ensure you share your less guarded moments only with the people you want to share them with, and not just anyone who types your name into a search engine.
And talking of typing your name into a search engine, do it. See what comes up. This is exactly the information your potential new employer will see. You might not be able to change much about it but forewarned is most definitely forearmed in this particular case. If nothing else, you’ll be prepared for any tricky questions you might be asked should you be lucky enough to land an interview.
Then look through the timings of your posts. If they are all uploaded during work hours you might want to think about the impression this will create. Most employers are looking for someone who will be focussed and passionate about their job. Evidence of repeated posting during office hours might make them think that’s not you.
Finally, ditch the selfies from professional sites. Really. It’s for your own good.