Spring Cleaning: 9 Social Media Tips for Job Seekers
One in 10 young job seekers has lost job opportunities because of sloppy social profiles.
As this year’s fresh crop of graduates starts pounding the virtual pavement, their social media lives are increasingly important.
A new survey by On Device Research, one in 10 young job seekers reprots losing a job opportunity because of sloppy social media profiles, yet 75 percent of people ages 16 to 34 don't think their social profiles will hurt their careers. Fear not: These nine easy tips and best practices will give you an edge on the job market in minutes. [See also: Social-Media Oversights Could Cost Grads New Jobs]
These nine steps will convert your social media life from a liability to an asset.
1. Ditch disparaging remarks about anyone.
Trash-talking is incredibly unattractive in a prospective employee. Tweeting about how stupid your boss or co-workers are, or even complaining about your boyfriend or girlfriend, shows that you are inconsiderate. Remember, it’s called social media, not anti-social media.
2. Eliminate sexist remarks and racial slurs.
Showing that you’re intolerant toward vast swaths of people will mark you unemployable. Sure, you have the legal freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean you should say whatever you want.
3. Zap explicit photos.
Of course your new boss doesn't need to know how many boyfriends you had last year, or how many drinks you had at that wedding. But even pictures you think are simply funny could be problematic — like that time you decided to "try" graffiti. This applies whether you’re in the photos or simply posting or liking them. [See also: How to Use Instagram Like a 15-year-old Girl]
4. Watch grammar and spelling.
This is important in general because it makes the poster look as if they don’t care enough to hit that apostrophe. But if you're going for editorial or administrative work, it’s a must-fix: No one will hire someone who can’t distinguish between "your" and "you’re."
5. Don't post during business hours.
You’re sitting at your desk bored out of your mind — so of course you’re on Twitter, Facebook or another site. But if you have enough time to post while on the clock, an astute hiring rep will determine you must not be terribly valuable to your current employer.
6. Be nice online.
If you start a lot of fights on social media, make ALL CAPS POSTS or generally reply to every slight, a reasonable person will conclude you’re argumentative. No one wants to bring that kind of attitude into an office.
7. Google yourself.
Nearly 70 percent of young people don’t Google themselves more than once a year, according to a recent U.S. survey by privacy software maker Abine. Taking this simple step may very quickly remind you of an ill-thought Tweet or an unfortunate photograph, and show you where to get to work first.
8. Delete bad posts.
On Twitter: Simply type in any words you associate with problematic posts into the search field, and voilà: You can delete each one. If you want a completely fresh start, use TwitWipe. You’ll log in with your Twitter account and then will be prompted to “TwitWipe this account.” One more click, and your tweets vanish forever.
On Facebook: Click the upper-right gear icon, and then Privacy Settings. To the right of “Who can see my stuff,” you can select the Activity Log to scroll through and untag yourself, hide items from your timeline or limit who can see what. Likewise, you may elect the drastic option of Facebook Scrubber, an app that does a total erase of all your posts on Facebook.
9. Beef up your social media privacy.
On Twitter: From the gear icon, select Settings. Scroll down to Protect my Tweets, which will allow you to choose who sees your future Tweets.
On Facebook: Click on the gear icon to the right of the Activity Log and choose “View as” to see what your public profile looks like. You can change the visibility on any posts that are risqué to Friends, Only Me or Custom (whomever you specify). Or, you can delete the post entirely by clicking the X.
Facebook also has a tool that lets you hide past and future posts. Choose Privacy Settings from the upper-right corner, and on the page that opens, select Privacy. You may elect to limit all your past and pending posts so that only friends can view them. You can even restrict posting so that no one else may post to your page, and you can severely limit what non-friends can see.
10. Keep your tastes private
Now that Facebook has promoted your tastes in entertainment to a prominent spot on your Timeline page, a quick review of your favorites is a good idea. Frequently watching the satire "Office Space" might not convey your enthusiasm for corporate America. You can easily remove this information from your page by clicking "Edit Profile" under your picture on your newsfeed and then using the edit tool in each section to hide it from the timeline.