How to avoid social media hiccups in your job search

There is a trend happening right now where hiring managers can be seriously deterred by a good candidate if their social media doesn’t reflect the impression the candidate gave. Social media may be personal, but if your social media contains some controversy, negative content or simply something that doesn’t reflect the given company’s values or image… your job search could be badly affected. Here are all the ways to avoid social media mistakes during your job search.

Use the maximum security settings

Your privacy settings should be ‘private’ and make sure your posts are seen by friends only on Facebook. Sites such as Twitter and Instagram should also be private and for friend and followers only. LinkedIn is slightly different, you’ll want people to see that profile, however, it is a professional site so your content and interactions on here should be positive. There will be some more on this below. You can check if your privacy settings are effective by using a fake account or signing out of everything and doing a Google search about yourself – then adjust according to what you can see.

Strong privacy settings aren’t always bulletproof. There may be people who are mutually connected to you or other ways around them so it’s important to keep the following in mind.

Don’t be a ‘troll’ or someone who argues online

On all social platforms, avoid conflict. It’s unnecessary and will definitely give you a bad reputation. If you can’t be cooperative online, what’s to say you will work well within a team? If you are nasty to people you don’t know very well, what’s to say you won’t be an uncaring manager?

Interact nicely with others

Instead, use your interactions to create positivity, to add value and to showcase your expertise. When you have positive online interactions, especially on sites such and LinkedIn, you will build a reputation of friendly, trustworthy, mentally active and passionate about what you do. It’s also a good way to reveal some of your personality. Give people a chance to feel comfortable and familiar with you. Hiring managers usually check social channels not to rule people out but to see if their character would fit well into the culture of their team and company.

Don’t post inappropriate images (especially as a profile picture)

This is simply common sense. Don’t post any images that could be deemed as controversial or inappropriate. It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot on sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram but it should be appropriate for say, your Grandma to see.  On that note, if your profile picture includes you wearing swimmers, it’s a safe bet to change it for your job search journey. For LinkedIn, you’ll want a semi-professional photo of yourself smiling. Again, it doesn’t have to be a professional headshot, but it shouldn’t be a cropped photo of you out at a nightclub for example.

Don’t overshare (especially about your current job or colleagues)

Some people love to be open about their personal lives on social media. If you’re one of these people, maybe reign it in during your job hunt. In fact, you should make sure there are no posts that could be seen as inappropriate, heavily political, or complaining about your current/old job. Think about being online (especially LinkedIn) like talking to colleagues. You can be yourself but there is a degree of professionalism where certain topics are discussed mindfully.

Build a good profile

This tip is for LinkedIn. When the hiring manager goes to check out your LinkedIn, you’ll want them to be met with a casual, personal online resume. Make sure you have a decent bio that involves some personality as well as what you do work wise. Ideally, you will have recent activity such as posts, shares, and likes. It would be even better to have articles written by yourself on the topic of your industry or role. They will have already seen your job history on your resume however it’s good to make sure this matches on LinkedIn so that you don’t raise any eyebrows or highlight inconsistencies. And make sure your picture is nice and semi-professional!

Being fake online

Don’t present one way in your interview for the hiring manager to find a completely different personality online. People want to be able to get what they see; not have to wonder who you really are. This would make them question how you’d really fit in with their team and the company.