Presenting Yourself Online
Recent research has shown that the online presence of a potential employee can sometimes make or break an offer – some 93% of hiring managers have admitted to reviewing a candidates social profile before making a job offer, with 55% of those claiming to have reconsidered the offer based off what they saw. Whilst the debate rages on regarding the ethics of such practices, the fact remains that it is happening, and as such candidates need to prepare their online-selves accordingly.
The whole Jobvite report (linked above) makes for useful reading, and essentially writes its own do’s-and-don’ts list for jobseekers (see page 11) – though most of it goes without saying. You can imagine for yourself the things that made employers view a candidate negatively (profanity, alcohol, sexual posts…) and those that portrayed a candidate positively (volunteering, donating to charity), but how do you use this information to your advantage?
Using the Jobvite report as a set of ‘rules’ can perhaps be seen as a little draconian – social media is, by its very definition ‘social’, and sharing photos of you and friends on a night out has been de rigueur for Facebook since its very beginnings. But don’t worry – employers do understand this and the last thing they are expecting (and indeed the last thing they want to see) is a sanitised version of you online. After all, personality is often just as important as experience when it comes to employers making a job offer, and social media is a great place for potential employers to learn a little more about you.
Know Your Networks
Who are you are online is often dependent on where you are online. Although LinkedIn now appears to have been beset by memes and other Facebook-style content, it still holds its place as the ‘professional’ social network, and your profile on there should reflect that.
It is also the network that recruiters will use to source candidates, so be sure your profile is up to date and lists all your relevant qualifications and experience. It is on LinkedIn especially that a good profile picture can make a huge difference, so look to take something professional-looking that isn’t just a badly cropped photo from the last wedding you attended.
Also put some thought into the content on your profile. Does it accurately reflect your skills and experience? With recruiters so often scouring LinkedIn for talent, put some thought into thinking of the words they might use to find profiles. Details of your qualifications (ACA, CIMA, ACCA, etc…) and specific technical skills are always likely to get you noticed, and the easier you are to find, the more likely you are to be contacted.
Although Facebook is very much the friends-and-family network, previous research has suggested that it is the most commonly used network by recruiters who are pre-screening candidates. However, that research is from back in 2011, before privacy concerns led the vast majority of Facebook users to adopt private profiles. It is worth checking your privacy settings – luckily Facebook has made this an incredibly easy process to manage, with the small lock icon in the top right of your Facebook profile providing you with a neat little tool to manage who sees what you post.
A Facebook profile with some standard privacy settings is likely to keep the content you post there away from the prying eyes of recruiters, which should mean for no Facebook-related slip-ups in your job hunt. Though keep this in mind – when the new job is sealed and colleagues become Facebook friends, they will have access to everything, which is worth thinking about should you fancy having a quick rant about your boss…
Twitter tends to be the most open of profiles, and with that there is the opportunity for some great building of your professional profile. The advice for presenting yourself here remains the same – just always keep in mind that anything you post on there is going to be there for everyone to see (assuming your profile isn’t private). You can easily use this to your benefit, though, and there are few better platforms to use to show off your skills and knowledge in the roles or sectors you are job hunting in. We find many of our clients looking for a candidate with real passion for their sector, and what better way to show this than a Twitter feed full of great sector-related content?
Social media has changed the recruitment process immensely, with a snapshot on a candidate’s life available all too easily in some cases. Keep this in mind when thinking about what you put online – what impression do you want people to get of you when they see your profiles?
It is all fairly straight-forward, but you would be surprised at how many people manage to get it so spectacularly wrong.