A recent CareerBuilder.com survey found that 43 percent of employers research candidates on social media before hiring them. The scary thing is that over half of them have found something that has prevented them from hiring a candidate. The most common reasons employers turn away applicants include:
- Job candidates posted inappropriate or provocative posts.
- Job candidates posted information about them drinking or using drugs.
- Job candidates criticised previous employers.
- Job candidates had poor communication skills.
In part one of our “Revamp Your Image” series, we looked into how you can use previous experience to get into a new field. Today in part two we look at ways you can clean up your social profiles to ensure that if employers are researching you, they’re not finding anything that would work against you getting the job.
1 – Rethink Your Position Before you post anything online, consider how it will affect a future job position. Posting hateful comments, going on rants about how much you hate your hotel job, or posting an update in texting language—even when it’s convenient—could cost you a future job position. So start by rethinking your position on various topics and changing your habits now.
2 – Delete Old Posts Even if you do manage to change your posting habits, your previous posts can come back to haunt you. The best thing to do is to manually go through your past posts and delete anything that doesn’t live up to your current values.
Cleaning up your online presence goes deeper than that, though. Employers may also (wrongfully) judge you based on the people you connect with, so in addition to deleting prior posts and photos you’re not proud of, clean up your friends list. If you use professional networks like LinkedIn, connect with heads of the industry to show that you’re invested in the field you’re applying to.
3 – Turn to a Friend Before you start cleaning up your profiles, a good idea is to get a friend to “beta test” your pages. Have him or her look at your images, posts, and comments and then report back to you on which ones could prevent you from getting the job.
On sites like Facebook, use the “View as Public” option so that you can see what a potential employer might see. However, remember that even if you set your profiles to private, employers may still be able to see past posts, especially if you share a mutual connection.
4 – Start Over if You Have To If all this seems overwhelming, it’s worth starting over completely and in the right mindset. Consider deleting old profiles altogether and starting with a clean slate. It’s worth noting, however, that old profiles, even when deleted, may still show up in searches, and depending on the service, your old comments may not disappear.
If you need serious help improving your online images, there are companies like Reputation911.com that can assist you. Part of their job is to analyse your online image and tweak it for the better. For instance, they can suppress old profiles that still show up on search engines so that when employers search your name, they’re not seeing your profile from eight years ago.
Want to learn more about how to revamp your image to show potential employers you’re worth hiring? Stick around for part three of our series, where we talk about creating a unique portfolio piece.