According to a Career Builder survey, 70% of employers look at a candidate social media profiles to screen candidates during the recruitment process. So, whether you like it or not, it’s imperative you manage your online presence carefully, especially if you are actively searching for your next career move.

So, if you have existing profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn here are a few social media tips that you need to do to ensure everything is in order…

Tips to tidy up your social media profile

1. Don’t erase your profile/s:

While you might be tempted to erase your entire social media profile for fear of something embarrassing being discovered, this strategy can backfire. About half of those surveyed by Career Builder (47% in fact) said they wouldn’t request an interview with someone they couldn’t find online. Rightly or wrongly, this is because not having a profile anywhere can feel like you’ve something to hide.

Even if you have a simple profile on LinkedIn with a basic career history, experience & skillset, this is better than having nothing at all & being unsearchable. Ideally, you’ll also have recommendations on here too.

2. Give your digital footprint a ‘spring clean’

Google yourself and find out what employers can see on your social media presence. Take the opportunity to remove unwanted photos and embarrassing status updates. Make sure what is visible reflects you accurately & professionally.

3. Privacy Settings

Think carefully about your privacy settings on all social networks. A potential employer isn’t likely to be impressed by your drunken pool party photos from a holiday with friends.

4. What to avoid

  • Provocative or inappropriate photos, videos or information
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc
  • Foul language
  • Bad-mouthing previous & current company or colleagues
  • Sharing confidential information from previous employers
  • Lying about qualifications
  • Unprofessional profile name
  • Visibly poor communication skills

5. What you should be doing

  • Choose a professional social media profile picture
    That reflects the professional and sensible side of you, not a photo that reflects your wild side on a messy night out… especially on LinkedIn.
  • Think before you post
    Don’t forget who you’re connected to – tweeting about your ‘2-day hangover’ is unlikely to be what a prospective employer is looking for. If you can’t resist, then make your accounts private and leave this type of thing off altogether on LinkedIn.
  • Hide personal details
    You may wish to hide personal details and information that you have publicly available on social media profiles; it is illegal for employers to make decisions in the hiring process based on your gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or any other information, so don’t leave yourself open to any kind of discrimination.
  • Finally, don’t speak negatively about your current or previous employers.
    Had a bad day at work? Turning to your social media account to vent your anger is not the solution. You never know who might see this and you don’t want potential employers to think you’ll do the same about their company if you accept their job offer.

6. How to use social media for your job search

  • Follow companies & influencers in your sector
    Use your social channels to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ companies or connect and interact with ‘influencers’ who work in the industry you’d like to get into. This is a great way to show recruiters and employers that you’re engaging with relevant people in your sector.
  • Keep an eye out for advertised roles
    Companies use social media to advertise their job vacancies, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for vacancy updates in your field and with companies that you’re interested in working for.
  • Expand your personal network connections
    Use your social channels to network with people in the industry you want to work in and engage with prospective employers to show you’re taking an interest in their business and what they do. Don’t forget that a large quantity of professionals find their next step on the career ladder through word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Connect with recruitment consultants
    Any recruiter worth their salt tends to share useful advice for job seekers such as CV writing tips, interview advice and how to manage job offers. They also are more likely to hear about a position becoming available before you are & will be looking through their connections for candidates to put forward to their client.
  • Show you’re interested in your sector
    Use your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to share and comment on relevant industry news. Social media can be a really powerful tool to build your personal brand and it’s also a great platform for showing employers that you are commercially aware, making you a much more attractive candidate.

Finally, don’t stop reviewing your online presence once you have secured a new role – don’t 48% of employers use social networking sites to research current employees too. Of those that do, 34% found content that resulted in them disciplining or even firing an employee…

Want to read more? Why not download our LinkedIn Profile Cheat Sheet for tips on how to make the most of your LinkedIn account here.