Growing up, we’re all taught to think before we speak. Now, we need to think before we post. As social media continues to be an integral part of students’ lives, we must market ourselves in a positive light to potential employers for the future. We all tend to voice our opinions on social media in the spur of the moment, but do we ever stop and think about the potential repercussions on our employability?
You’re probably thinking; well, no. Whether it’s a drunken Instagram story, derogatory comments on a friend’s Facebook post or a Twitter spat with a stranger, even if you think your social media has fine-tuned and foolproof privacy settings, it’s highly likely that if you Google your name, something will pop up, whether from 2012 or just last week.
According to the 2018 survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 70 per cent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, as well as 43 per cent of employers using social media as a way to check up on their current employees. Employers look to our social media accounts as a way of determining whether we’re suitable for their company. As the majority of us like to think of our social media as “personal”, this can give employers a convincing insight into our personalities which may not be highlighted by the personal profile of a CV or an interview.
That’s not to say everything we post online is always horrifying. Social media provides the perfect platform for us to share what we’re passionate about, keep up to date with current affairs, support local events and discover job opportunities with ease. Rather than fearing what your potential employer might find on your profiles, consider what you would want them to know about you. Would you want to showcase your involvement in societies at university? Or maybe photos from your year abroad? Think of your social media accounts as a means of advertising the best version of yourself.
According to the survey, employers aren’t looking for reasons to not hire someone as much as they are looking for what other people are saying about you. Whether you have a professional online presence and to find evidence of the qualifications you listed on your CV in practice are some of the main concerns of potential employers.
Our interactions and posts on social media can help to promote our best qualities. Searching your name in Google could lead employers to see what you’re passionate about through what you’ve interacted with online, photos from participation in a company-sponsored event or even the completion of a large group project during the semester. It can also have the opposite effect. Nothing is more unprofessional than a derogatory comment or an offensive post that everyone can see with great ease.
If the tone of your LinkedIn posts is drastically different from that of your Facebook, it’s worth thinking about making your online presence consistently ‘employment-friendly’. An employer is always looking for a well-rounded individual and portraying yourself in this light online can only be beneficial!
To reflect the best possible version of yourself for employers, keep it authentic, honest and positive. Don’t feel you have to refrain from being who you are but try to stay socially-savvy and remind yourself of the old classic: if you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see it, it probably shouldn’t be on Facebook. The same can be said for your future boss.