How To Clean Up Your Social Media for a Job Search

You know what your resume says about you. But what are your social media accounts saying to employers?


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What do you find when you Google your first and last name? 65% of recruiters admit they use social networks to screen the professionalism of a candidate, and many search to discover their qualifications or determine if they’re a fit for the culture. More importantly, 43% of recruiters have eliminated an applicant from consideration based on their online reputation and social media activity.

Employers today aren’t limited to a resume, handshake, or interview as their first impression of you. It’s becoming more common that they go deeper, and it’s never been easier to do so.

It’s in an employer’s best interests to determine if you're a fit for the business beyond what’s on paper, and your social media profiles can be ripe with positive examples – or “red flags” – about whether or not you’re right for the job.

Googling yourself is a great first step to see what a recruiter might find and to start cleaning up your online presence. Take note of all the websites that return with content including your name. If they’re sites with profiles you’ve opened, it’s best to take a spin through and ensure they represent the professional image you’re looking to communicate. If the profile has been dormant for an extended period of time, consider closing or updating it.

Here are a few pointers to ensure you don’t forget any of the essentials:

  • Privacy. Be wary of providing too much personal information. If you’d prefer to be more casual on a platform, ensure you’re fully leveraging the privacy settings.
  • Inappropriate media. Remove any pictures, posts, comments or anything else that could damage your reputation. On Facebook, you can also restrict who’s allowed to tag you in photos so you won’t be surprised.
  • The company you keep. Consider you social media connections. Disconnect with anyone you don’t want to be associated with.
  • Unclutter. Tidy up your profiles by removing page likes or apps on Facebook you haven’t interacted with in a long time, or no longer care to. If it’s not relevant to who you are today or if you can’t speak to it, remove it.
  • Google check. Scroll through a few pages of your Google search to ensure you’ve adjusted any profiles you have access to.

How Employers Use Social Media to Hire

Just as you might use corporate social media profiles to gauge the culture of a company you’re interested in, recruiters at those companies are in large part doing the same to discover more about potential candidates.

While LinkedIn is considered the most professional and preferred method of vetting candidates, don’t count out Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok. Employers use these profiles to confirm the consistency of what they may have learned from a resume or interview, and the content you’ve published can all be part of the consideration that goes into making the call as to whether you’re offered the job. A group you’re associated with might excite a recruiter in conversation, or your comment on an industry story you shared could showcase how you’re a trend-forward thinker.

How Recruiters Use Social Media to Find Job Candidates

Not only is it important to update your social media profiles to put your best foot forward, but today’s recruiters are looking to discover talent using the same tools. Over 84% of organizations report using social media for recruiting, which includes keyword-targeting individuals with skills and interests that fit the job description they’re looking to fill. 

When your social media profiles are rich with job titles, experience, associations, or other industry keywords, you’re simply more likely to be discovered by a recruiter looking to hire someone with your talent. You’re also more likely to be the recipient of paid advertising that highlights job opportunities you’d actually be interested in pursuing.

So why wait? Google yourself today and see where you stand, then get to spiffing up your online presence!

Ok, so we’ve convinced you to comb your social media profiles. While you’re at it, it’s also a perfect time to build a robust LinkedIn profile if you don’t already have one!

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