Tips for creating a social media profile to help you get your dream job

You may not think social media profiles have anything to do with looking for a job, but they do. You could change your profile name to avoid people frowning upon the photo of you in a mankini. Or just take a look at this guide.

You may not think social media profiles have anything to do with looking for a job, but they do.

More and more, job applications offer you the option to auto fill-in your details by allowing access to you Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profiles. Other applications ask for links to your social media accounts if applicable, particularly if being good at social media is part of the job being advertised.

And even if hirers don’t specifically ask for it, chances are, they’ll look. Prospects says that, “Research by Jobvite found that more than 50% of employers viewed candidates' social media profiles before making a job offer - with the majority of these recruiters subsequently reconsidering their decision.”

The kinds of things that would make a recruiter reconsider? “References to illegal drugs, alcohol and firearms were likely to count against the candidate.” We’d add that that naked photo of you off-your-face, dancing on the bar in Kavos may not be the best first impression either… (NB: this actually happened to somebody).

Read our top tips for how to use your social media profile for the better, and not for the worse.

Here are some social media ‘Don’ts’:

  • Don’t bad-mouth your current or previous workplaces
  • Don’t make discriminatory comments. This includes sharing with care – even though the post or tweet or article may not have been written directly by you, sharing such content gives the impression that you agree with what the poster is saying
  • Don’t post provocative or inappropriate photos of yourself
  • Don’t lie about your qualifications in your application, then share a different story on your social media profiles
  • Don’t use foul language and check your posts to make sure they make sense. Facebook may not seem like the most obvious place for a grammar test, but you can never be too sure

Instead turn your social media profile around and use it to help you get that dream job:

  • Use your social media profile to get to know your future employer. Their social media should offer a great insight into their company culture, and lets you find out their latest news, ready to dazzle them at an interview
  • Interact with companies on their social media accounts, so that you’re ready for that moment when you see a tweet or a Facebook post, or even Instagram post, advertising the job you’ve always hoped they’d have but never thought the day would come. You can even send them a tweet to let them know you’ve applied! If they’re already aware of you, their social media account manager can always put in a good word to the hirer…
  • List your skills and current profession on your social media profile. You never know when someone might remember seeing that you are an I.T. technician, and they know someone who needs an I.T. technician in the local area. Having your skills and current role on your social media profiles will also help you appear in online searches. If employers and recruiters are searching for a barista in London, or a builder in Manchester, and you’ve said you are one, you’re more likely to show up under the radar. You may not think a social media account is the most appropriate place to list your profession, but you never know what luck that little Twitter bio, Facebook or Instagram description might bring
  • Use your perfect profile to join relevant groups and connect with relevant people in the same profession. Jobs are shared everywhere these days!
  • Use hashtags to search for roles on Twitter and Instagram. Small companies are more likely to use social media to recruit for interns and employees
  • Engage in conversations with other people in your industry – you don’t need to know them, but you never know who might come across your conversation. Just remember, it’s all public!
  • Get your friends to share nice things about you on your social media profile – it may help a recruiter get to know what kind of person you are a little better. Every little bit helps!
  • Connect with people who are doing something you want to be doing, find out a bit more about their relevant experience, qualifications etc and see what path they’ve taken to get to your dream job
  • Post about what you like to do in your spare time, it shows who you are and whether or not you’ll be a good culture fit for the company. “CareerBuilder… asked employers why they use social networks to research candidates, and 65% said they do it to see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally. About half (51%) want to know if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, and another 45% want to learn more about his or her qualifications. Some cited “to see if the candidate is well-rounded” and “to look for reasons not to hire the candidate,” as their motives.” (Forbes)

Of course, you could always go down the route of changing your profile name to one that doesn’t exist and go completely incognito. That way, you don’t need to worry about whether or not a potential employer will frown upon the photo of you in a mankini.

But in a world where everyone is kind of expected to have at least one social media profile, employers might be left wondering why it is you’ve decided not to create one… If you have a good reason not to, that’s great and interesting in itself, but sometimes it’s good to use the “social” aspect of social media profiles to their advantage.

Just be sure to strike that balance between social, and professional.

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