Employers rely on a modern-day tool to evaluate job candidates: social media accounts. Over 90 percent of businesses say that social media plays a part in their hiring strategies. You can be sure that every time you submit an application, someone’s going to check out your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other public accounts.
This shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable. Rather, it can be a good thing if you use your social media accounts to your advantage. Social media can become a critical asset in your desire to land a different job. As long as you understand how to use your accounts, you can accelerate your success and build your professional network.
What are some best practices to ensure the outcome of your next social media background check leans in your favor? Follow these steps to create an appealing profile that’s easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find.
1. Conduct a digital footprint audit
Now is the time to get rid of all the stuff on your social accounts that might seem unprofessional. Untag yourself from questionable pictures, and take down anything that could affect your reputation. Remember that the people looking at your social pages might have a different sense of humor than you.
You’ll be glad you self-scrutinized your digital footprint. Even leaders like the Finnish prime minister can get skewered for uploading the wrong things. When video of Prime Minister Sanna Marin partying hit the social stage, people were quick to criticize.
You don’t have to remove everything that showcases your personality. Just clean up your presence as a means of optimizing it for viewers who want to see whether you’re a good fit for their company.
2. Add keywords to your LinkedIn
It’s undeniable that you need a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn’s research shows that 87 percent of recruitment professionals depend on the site to find candidates. Because LinkedIn profiles are so content-heavy, you have the opportunity to pepper them with keywords to increase your visibility and chances of getting hired.
How does this keyword optimization work? Let’s say you hold an entry-level position and you want to move into middle management. There are certain terms that people in senior roles use on LinkedIn to describe themselves, their responsibilities, etc. You want to figure out what those keywords are and use them — without keyword stuffing, of course. Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t sound like an Amazon product description!
Where’s the best place to find keywords? Think about the position you want. Then, go on a job listing hunt. Write down all the keywords used in those job postings. Once you have a list, rewrite your LinkedIn profile to include them. Good writing is key here, so be selective about the words you use to define yourself.
3. Keep your social announcements professional
We’ve all encountered someone on social media who parted ways with their employer on a bad note and wanted to share their frustrations with the world. While these feelings are understandable, you can’t make this mistake. If you’re trying to show a potential employer that you are professional, you must be gracious even if things ended poorly. Wish your previous colleagues well and be done with it.
It speaks volumes about you if you can move past poor job experiences. Rather than talk about your former employer, talk about what you’re looking for in your next role. It’s OK to declare that you’re job hunting as long as you spin it with a positive note. This way, employers and recruiters will see you as someone who’s mature and level-headed.
4. Know what will impress the company you want to work for
If you have a target company in mind, find out who works there. Check out their social media pages and the business’s corporate page. Read what everyone else is posting and take notes. The more you find out, the more you can adjust the tone of your social media profiles.
For example, you might discover that your target employer seems to appreciate initiative. Consequently, you might want to write some posts indicating that you have a lot of initiative, work autonomously, and enjoy breaking the mold.
Just be certain not to change your profiles every day. Once your social media accounts are clean, optimized, and targeted, leave old copy and images alone. Just move forward and use what you’ve learned to inform your future posts.
Right now, the job market favors candidates. However, nothing will happen if you sit back and expect the offers to roll in. Employers might be eager to hire, but they still want to make sure they’re hiring the most qualified candidates. So use your social media profiles to demonstrate that you’re the perfect fit.