Imagine this scenario. You have all the relevant qualifications and experience for your dream job, as well as the perfect CV and cover letter. You apply, follow up on your application and… nothing. What went wrong?
One of the things employers look at when researching job candidates are their social media profiles. They want their employees to be respectful and appropriate representatives of their company. If your profiles don’t fall in line with their expectations then they may not even consider your application despite being an otherwise perfect fit. Recruiters may also use your profiles to judge whether you’re a good fit for the company culture.
How do you go about ensuring you don’t get eliminated from the pool because of your social media profiles? Simply change your Facebook settings and remove the things you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see.
1. Review your account privacy settings
There’s no need to put everything you post on private, as you can look very professional on your personal profile and demonstrate how interested you are in the industry as a bonus. It’s also a great way to show off your winning personality.
Having a review of everyone you’re friends with on Facebook is a good first step here. Have you got employers, co-workers or people you’ve met professionally on there? If so, you’ll want to think carefully about what you want them to see.
You can create custom filters on Facebook to exclude specific profiles from seeing certain things you post, define who can find you and how, and even stop your profile coming up in search engine results pages. There are options for every occurrence, including friends only, friends of friends, everyone or no-one. If you choose to customise this setting, individual names can be selected and added.
Using your ‘Activity Log’ is a useful tool as well, as it allows you to see every post you’ve ever interacted with. For example, if you commented on a post which no longer aligns with your views, you can see it here in your activity log.
You can even make sure that your Facebook profile doesn’t come up in Google searches of your name, which allows for your LinkedIn, website, blog or online portfolio to take the spotlight.
2. Delete unfavourable content
Each part of your profile should be employable, professional and friendly. That means no sexist, racist, or otherwise offensive and discriminatory comments and posts. You should also refrain from excessively using swear words.
Pictures of you out clubbing should probably be set to ‘my friends only’ or to a custom filter if you have coworkers on your profile. Similarly, Facebook pages, apps and groups which include content to do with drinking and partying should be unfollowed.
Going through your whole profile and untagging yourself from photos and deleting friend’s posts from your wall which could be considered unsavoury will also help your profile to look more professional.
3. Delete content about previous, current or future jobs
You should not be airing your grievances about your past or present jobs over social media. Moaning about colleagues and bosses is not a good look for you, and a prospective employer may think twice about whether you’d be a good fit for the company. This extends to complaints about customers and clients as well.
Facebook is also the wrong place to discuss interviews which didn’t result in a job, unanswered applications and other job hunting troubles. Feel free to vent privately to friends and family, but it looks very unprofessional to do this publicly and will imply you’re not a good fit for the company.
4. Set personal information to ‘Friends Only’
Personal information that employers have no right to knowing should be set to private, restricted or deleted. This includes marital status, religion and political views.
While employers can’t legally give these as a reason why you didn’t get hired, it’s a good idea to keep them private as they’re irrelevant to recruiters.
5. Preview how your page will look
To view your profile as anyone on your friends list as well as people who are not yet friends with you, use the ‘Review’ feature underneath ‘Timeline and Settings’. This will show you what a prospective employer will see when looking at your profile, or a co-worker who is restricted from seeing certain posts.
And step 6, of course, is to continue with your job search! Don’t become discouraged at any stage, as there are always steps you can take towards securing interviews (we can help with this, remember!). Good luck and if you do require any further support we are a phone call or email away.