How often do you use social media? As you’re waking up, making your way into work, sitting at your desk, relaxing at home or even nipping to the loo, odds are you have quick access to it.
A study by the University of Derby revealed that a social media break in the office has a positive effect on our mental health and productivity. But while many of us use social networks to escape from work life, we forget how much of an impact it has on our employability. With that in mind, I’ve examined the way we portray ourselves online and have put together my top tips on how to use social media to your advantage when applying for a job.
Search your own name, because you might be surprised at what results will appear first. Looking yourself up online can help you quickly see what’s immediately public, and it’s normally your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, so make sure they’re clean and updated. Since LinkedIn can act as a second CV, you don’t want an employer to read an out-of-date version, so include all of your recent activities.
Clean your content
It seems obvious, but try to avoid setting your profile picture to you on a drunken night out; it doesn’t usually go down too well. As a general rule, I tend to look at my social media from the perspective of my grandparents, so if I see any content I know my Grandma would be disappointed to read, I remove it. Remember that your profiles are public, so you have to assume anyone can and will read it, unless you set it otherwise.
Adjust your privacy settings
Every social media site has its own privacy settings, so if you don’t want your bosses viewing your Instagram account, make it private. Most sites have varying degrees of privacy, so adjust as necessary if you only want to share things with your closest friends. Plenty of your profile could still be viewable even with privacy settings however, so make sure to investigate just how private your posts really are.
Most bosses these days will Google a candidate’s name before their interview to check out what they’re posting, but do you realise exactly what employers can see? Be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or anything in between, a boss can easily have a bad first impression of you before you’ve even sat down for your interview. A little online preparation prior can go a long way. Don’t let a tweet you sent when you were feeling rebellious get in the way of your dream job.