How to Prepare Your Social Media Presence for a Job Search

Horizon Job Alert 11 October, 2022

Your social media presence is more important than ever when it comes to job hunting. Recruiters are increasingly looking at candidates' social media profiles to screen for potential hires. In fact, according to a recent survey, 70% of employers say they have rejected a candidate based on their social media presence. So, what does this mean for you if you're currently in the job market? It means that you need to clean up your social media accounts before you start applying for jobs! Here's how:

1. Make sure your profile photos are professional.

A recent study found that 48% of employers say a candidate's profile photo is the most important factor in their decision to hire or not hire that person. So, if you're using a photo of yourself at the beach as your profile pic, it's time to change it! Replace it with a headshot or a professional-looking photo that shows you in a positive light.

2. Review your privacy settings.

Make sure that only people who want to see your photos and posts can see them. You don't want potential employers stumbling across drunken party photos from your college days! Most social media platforms have privacy settings that allow you to control who can see your content. For example, on Facebook, you can choose whether to make your profile private or public. If you choose "public," anyone—including potential employers—can see your posts. If you choose "private," only people who are friends with you on Facebook will be able to see your content.

3. Delete any questionable content.

This one should be obvious, but delete anything—photos, posts, comments, etc.—that could reflect poorly on you as a candidate. This includes things like profanity, racism, sexism, and inappropriate photos or videos (e.g., photos of you drinking alcohol or using drugs). If in doubt, err on the side of caution and delete it! Once something is online, it's there forever—even if you delete it from your account later, someone could have saved it and reposted it elsewhere.

4. Google yourself.

Type your name into Google and see what comes up. This will give you an idea of what potential employers might see when they Google you during the screening process. If anything pops up that you're not comfortable with, take steps to remove it (e.g., contacting the website owner and asking them to take down the offending content).

In today's job market, it's more important than ever to have a clean and professional social media presence—before you even start applying for jobs! Recruiters are increasingly using candidates' social media profiles to screen for potential hires, and if they don't like what they see, they're likely to move on to the next candidate without giving you a second thought. So take some time to review your privacy settings, delete any questionable content (drunken party photos included), and Google yourself so that you know what potential employers might find when they search for you. By taking these steps now, you'll put yourself in a much better position when it comes time to start applying for jobs!