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Make Your Social Media Employer-Friendly

By Kat Boogaard

Your resume lands in a hiring manager’s inbox or in a big stack on his desk. She takes a quick look through your resume, and then what happens next? Well, you can bet you’re getting looked up on social media almost immediately.

In fact, a whopping 93% of hiring managers admit that they do some internet digging and look up candidates on social media. And, we’re not just talking about LinkedIn here—as most employers just assume you’ll have a polished presence in that space.

Instead, they’re looking at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If those accounts are littered with drunken photos and trash talk about your current boss? You’re probably not earning a spot at the top of the coveted “To Be Interviewed” pile.

But, with that being said, you don’t want to totally delete your accounts. After all, you’re entitled to a life outside of your job. And, in this day and age, it almost seems suspicious not to be online.

So, what can you do? Well, before even submitting your resume, you just need to take some time to make your accounts a little more employer-friendly. How? I’ve got the details for you right here. 

1. Delete Offensive Posts

Your social outlets are your spaces to express yourself. And, yes, you have the Freedom of Speech on your side. But, if you’re looking to score a new gig, there’s nothing wrong with censoring yourself a little bit. You want to put your best foot forward and display the most professional and polished representation of who you are.

Those photos of you winning that annual keg stand competition? Delete. Those status updates about Sunday’s football game that are littered with curse words? Delete. Your political rants that you think are witty, but most people just find to be obnoxious? Delete. Those endless complaining tweets about how much you hate your job? Definitely delete.

When you’re job hunting (and, honestly, even when you’re not), keep this golden rule of social media in mind: If knowing your grandma saw it would make you shamefully blush, you’re probably better off not posting it at all.

2. Add Your Current Workplace

Yes, you keep your employment information updated on your LinkedIn profile. But, listing your current workplace on your Facebook profile and in your Twitter and Instagram bios is also a great idea for a couple of reasons.

First, it shows pride for your workplace and your chosen career field. While you value work/life balance and the separation between your career and personal life, you also recognize that work really is a big piece of your life. And, overall, you’re proud of what you do.

Secondly, this demonstrates that you’re currently employed in a reputable position. If a hiring manager visits your Facebook profile and sees your current occupation listed as “Professional Party Animal”? Well, you’re not off to a great start.

3. Share Helpful and Relevant Content

No, you don’t need to treat your other social media outlets like LinkedIn all of the time. But, posting helpful blog posts and articles related to your industry is a great way to remain active on social media in a professional and productive way.

So, go ahead and retweet that post from your company about a new product they’re launching. Share that great article you just read about networking tips. Post a link to that news story about big changes in your industry. Doing so makes you appear well connected and well informed. And, having a potential employer think you’re always on top of your game? It definitely doesn’t hurt.

Beyond posting articles, you can also use your social accounts to share announcements about your own professional development. Whether you just completed an online course that you thought was extremely beneficial or you had a great time at a community networking event, go ahead and spread the word! Sometimes you need to toot your own horn a little bit.

4. Follow Influencers

There are tons of thought leaders on social media. And, following them is not only great for filling up your feed with inspirational and educational content (which, ahem, is great for sharing!), but it’s also an effective way to demonstrate that you use social media to do more than just get the latest updates on the Kardashian clan.

Let’s say a hiring manager visits your Twitter profile and then clicks to see who you’re following. Immediately, he’s bombarded with a list that includes everyone from Justin Bieber to Grumpy Cat. Well, it’s going to be difficult to make yourself appear like a super serious candidate after that.

Of course, you can still follow those accounts if you’d like. But, sprinkling in the occasional TechCrunch or Arianna Huffington will help to balance the scales.

5. Turn On Your Timeline Review

Alright, so you’ve cleaned up your act and are now going to tread lightly when it comes to what you post on social media. But, can you say the same thing about your friends? With an outlet like Facebook, what’s to say your old college roommate won’t suddenly decide to plaster embarrassing college photos all over your profile?

This is why it’s so important to turn on your timeline review—which allows you to approve or deny posts before they show up on your public page. Simply visit your Facebook settings, click the “Timeline and Tagging” section, and then switch the “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline?” field to “On”.

Whew! Now you can rest easy knowing you won’t wake up to a barrage of mortifying and degrading posts on your Facebook wall.

Work is a big part of your life. But, today, so is social media. Finding a happy medium between a professional identity and a fulfilling personal life can seem like a fine line to walk—particularly when it comes to your online brand. However, employer-proofing your social accounts is definitely recommended. Follow these tips, and you’re sure to make a positive first impression when it comes time for that hiring manager to cyberstalk you.

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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