In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder in 2018, 70% of employers use social media to screen potential candidates during their recruiting process and 43% of employers continue to use social media to screen their current employees. In addition, 34% of employers have also reprimanded or fired an employee based on incriminating content they found on their social media profiles.
It goes without saying that today, the line between your personal and professional life on social media is no longer so clear cut. Employers are now turning to social media accounts to see personalities vs. just resumes.
Therefore, it’s important to remember that your social media profiles should be treated as an extension of yourself both inside and outside of the office. Here are 5 ways you can use social media to benefit your career.
1. Don’t be hard to find online.
About 47% of employers said they would not contact a person for an interview if they couldn’t find them online. This is because they want to learn more about the candidate and expect them to have an online presence. If they’re difficult to find because they have privatized their profiles or are using a different name, employers feel that they have something to hide and will skip on to the next candidate.
Therefore, make sure your profiles use your actual name and are up-to-date in projecting a professional image. If they aren’t, clean them up and have them ready before you start applying to jobs. On the other end of the spectrum, if you don’t have any social profiles at all, it’s time to create one (at the very least, on LinkedIn). If you don’t, this can backfire and hurt your chances of getting hired.
2. Be who you say you are.
Allow your profile to show who you say you are. That’s one of the main reasons employers screen candidates: to see if they are a good company culture fit. If an organization values community service and your resume states that you’re passionate about volunteering, your photos, posts, or updates should reflect that somewhere. This shows that you’re not just tailoring your resume to fit job description requirements and you indeed are who you say you are.
3. Show your personality in a respectable way.
Don’t tailor your social profiles to just give potential employers what they want to see. Remember to keep it real, too! Employers are screening you through these channels to get a better sense of your personality and what your interests are outside of work. Therefore, continue to treat your social accounts as you normally would—just with the caveat that your content is respectable and appropriate.
So, continue to post photos of your camping trips, updates about your favorite team going to the Superbowl, and all those precious photos of you and your pup. Let your personality and creativity shine through because they want to see what makes you.
4. Connect with the industry.
Be actively involved in the profession you’re looking to pursue. Follow companies, connect with other professionals, and engage with content that interests you by sharing, posting, or commenting. The quality and depth of your social media engagement with the profession will stand out to potential employers—especially if it shows you’re adding value to conversations surrounding trending topics. Of course, always ensure that your interactions with organizations and professionals are a good representation of you.
Today, social media has become so much more than a personal way of staying connected to friends and family. It is now used as a tool to shape and amplify your personal brand. Employers now utilize social profiles in this manner as well, so remember to showcase your best, authentic self to further develop your marketable qualities online.