It’s not just your friends who are looking at your Facebook profile anymore — potential employers are checking in on what you’re liking and posting as well.
Students new to the college life are eager to share their thoughts and photos of last night’s party. But, unfortunately for some, employers in the digital era are monitoring what you choose to share on your social media accounts.
A 2012 social hiring study by social media monitoring service Reppler found that of the 300 hiring professionals surveyed, 91% used social media to screen prospective employees. So when you are looking for a job, you may realize you have some social media cleaning up to do. It’s important to take care of your digital footprint during your college years and how to protect your online brand and reputation.
According to a recent survey by On Decide Research, one out of 10 16- to 34-year-olds have missed a job opportunity because of their social media profile.
So where do you start?
1. Decide which social media platforms to use.
Think about how and why you use each of your social media accounts. For example, you could decide that Facebook is the personal you, Twitter is the networker you and LinkedIn is your professional you. Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, WordPress and other platforms are also important and you should have a clear purpose for each of them. Regardless of the platform and what aspect of your brand it shows, the profiles need to be clean, updated and rich in content.
For SEO purposes, it’s also important to maintain a consistency with the screen or user names that use choose for each platform. If a new platform emerges, secure your “brand” name as soon as possible.
2. Think before you share.
To successfully manage your brand, you should think twice before hitting the enter button and sharing content. According to the 2012 Social Job Seeker Survey carried out on behalf of Jobvite, an online recruiting platform, any content making reference to illegal drugs, profanity, sex, alcohol, religion or containing grammar or spelling mistakes can give a negative impression to recruiters. If you post content related to volunteering, donating or being involved with professional organizations, your content will be well received.
Before posting anything, ask yourself, “Do I really want to tell this to the whole world?”
3. Google yourself.
When you want to know more about people you just met, you check their social media, maybe even Google them. Job seekers will Google you and you should do the same somewhat often.
The more often you post on your social media accounts and the more key words you include, the higher up your profiles will show on Google search.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a unique name, so whichever name you choose your “brand” to be (screen or user names), make sure it is different from any celebrities or other personalities with a bad reputation who you wouldn’t want to be confused with.
4. Mitigate damage.
Everyone makes mistakes. Maybe posting on Facebook about how drunk you were Saturday night was not the wisest thing to do. You can still fix it. How? Scan your social media accounts with Reppler, which can check your accounts’ content, as well as privacy and security settings. If you find loopholes or posts that could be considered inappropriate, delete them. Reppler also gives its users a snapshot of how others perceive your brand.
5. Complete your profiles.
A common mistake is to have complete Facebook or Twitter profiles but an incomplete LinkedIn one. Take some time to complete all your profiles consistently. Once you take that first step, updating each profile once in a while should be easy — just remember to do it!
6. Monitor your presence.
Managing your online reputation does not mean you can’t be fun and personable in your social media profiles. Employers don’t like robots, either. Just be careful with what you like and post so you are not one of those recent graduates who doesn’t get a job because of a bad choice during freshman year.
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