GUEST BLOG: How social media can affect employment

UoY Careers Balloon illy Guest blog written by Rachel Boddy, Career Guidance postgraduate student

In a world that revolves around the internet and social media, it is important that when applying for jobs, your social media account is going to enhance your chances of success, not hinder it! Below are a few hints and tips of using your social media to ensure that it is not going to decrease your chances of employment, as well as a few ways to use social media to impress an employer and make you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons!

With over 74% of the population actively on some sort of social network website, it is easier than ever to look someone up and get access to their information. This includes employers! According to the world’s largest professional networking site Linkedin, 65% of employers admit to looking up potential candidates before giving interviews or job offers to see how that person represents themselves professionally. Among these employers, 34% admitted that they have often made decisions based on the candidate’s profile alone to not proceed with an interview or job offer.

Don’t worry, this is not the time to panic and frantically delete all social media accounts. Now is the time to look through your accounts and make sure that what is visible to the public, is appropriate for an employer to look at and isn’t going to lessen your chances of being employed. Below are a few top tips to make your social media account employer friendly and boost your chances of bagging that dream job!

  • Be aware of privacy settings, if there are things that you wish only family and friends to see, set your posts to private or family and friends only.
  • Make sure that the information visible to the public is professional and up to date, for example, place of work, university history. Employers may be put off if they think you have lied about previous experience in your application.
  • Avoid complaining about your place of work, boss or colleagues.
  • Do not post your latest job offer, a separate employer may see this and decide not to offer you an interview or job.
  • Avoid commenting on customers/clients on your profile.
  • Posting photos you would be unhappy for your employer to see (eg with alcohol, drunk, etc) should be either set to private or deleted completely.
  • Set your profile so that you have to approve comments if someone tags you or comments on your wall.
  • Be specific on who you invite or accept as friends, it may be wise to keep colleagues strictly professional.
  • Avoid using unprofessional language such as slang and text language.

Using your social media as a form of application/CV

Social media accounts don’t have to be strictly for the use of friends and family. Certain accounts can be a way of networking with employers and showing them your personality and why you would be suitable for a job. Linkedin in one of the most popular ways of connecting with professionals giving you access to jobs, information, potential employers and potential colleagues. Below are a few tips to make your Linkedin as professional and impressive as possible to get you noticed by employers.

  • Complete your profile as soon as possible, it could look unprofessional and off putting to employers if your profile is not finished.
  • Make sure your profile photograph is professional, it could still show off your personality, however make sure it is a photo you would be proud for an employer to see. A head and shoulder photo may be easier for the viewer to see and could help you to stand out.
  • Make sure your information is accurate, eg your full name, what it is you do, how you do it, etc.
  • Keep your summary short and concise. Only put in information you want the employer to know. Make sure you answer who you are, what you do and who you do it for.
  • Update your specialisms. Make sure the employer can see how you stand out from everyone else and what it is that makes you unique.
  • Join groups that are relevant to your sector. Avoid linking in with friends and people who are irrelevant to your profession.
  • Follow leaders within your sector to keep up with the latest information and job opportunities.
  • Join in on group discussion to show employers that you are passionate about your field of work.
  • Get references from past employers so that potential employers can see what your are like to work with and the impact you make on a company.

Other forms of social media can enhance your chances of employment. Twitter and Instagram can show employers your interest in the area you work in. Following companies profiles and retweeting articles they have published could make them aware of you as a professional. If your profiles are strictly professional, you could add a link of them on your CV to show your interests. For example your Instagram could show an employer your interests in travelling, exercise and reading. However be careful of this, do not promote your social media if there is anything you do not want your employer to see.

So the message is clear, sharing information via the internet is such a useful tool, when used correctly! It’s time to start using your social media profiles in a way that won’t negatively affect your chances of getting your dream job. Begin to view your social media as a way to enhance your employability and networking opportunities. Keep your personal profiles personal! Only have close friends and family and keep the things you do not want employers to see, private. Be active on your professional profile, sell your skills, display what you have to offer and network with those future employers. Good luck!!

Rachel Boddy graduated from the Universtiy of Cumbria in Dance and Musical Theatre. She is currently studying Career Guidance at the University of Huddersfield with the ambition of completing her masters degree and becoming a Career Counsellor.