Spring is a time of refreshment, new beginnings, and of course even graduation season is upon us!
Hope and inspiration are filling the air. One chapter is closing and the next one is about to be written.
For College graduates it may mean leaving school and seeking a new profession finally. For another, it may mean it is time to make a move from an occupation that you have been applying yourself to for some time but are feeling the itch it is time to find new challenges.
Stressful, yes. Job searching isn’t easy – for anyone. It’s mentally draining and you have to be tough. You’re more likely to be turned down more times than you are to be offered a position. But, there are a few simple things that you can do to lessen your frustration and get yourself ready for your adventure – and that’s checking out your social media presence online.
Because first impressions are not made in-person any longer. First impressions are made online. If your social media is heavily focused on fun and parties or negative rants, that’s how a potential employers may view you. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, companies will check you out and recruiters will Google you.
Free speech may be free but it’s not without repercussions. Be prepared for the employer’s scrutiny.
A survey from Careerbuilder.com from 2014 found that many employers are turning to social networking sites to find additional information on potential candidates – and they’re not entirely pleased with what they’re seeing. The survey found that 51 percent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the candidate. That’s up from 43 percent in 2013 and 34 percent in 2012.
If you’re completely turned off by that, so be it and you don’t have to work for them, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little prep up front as you start to get serious about your search.
Know What’s Out there - Google yourself.
Look for unprofessional information and profile pictures. Your spring break pictures in Panama Beach may not be the most appealing profile pictures to the potential employer. I’m sure you had a blast and those are the things great memories are made from but some things are best left in Panama Beach. What happens in Panama Beach, stays in Panama Beach.
Clean it Up - Remove questionable photos and comments. Remember, just because your Facebook profile has privacy settings doesn’t mean you’re totally invisible online.
Check Those Privacy Settings -
Tighten privacy controls on all social media accounts, but assume that what you’ve posted will be seen by the world. It’s a good way to be mindful of what you put up on sites.
Have a Professional Voicemail and Email Address -
When you begin your job search, make sure your email address and voicemail greetings are simple and professional, rather than off the wall, inappropriate or just plain bizarre.
“Yeah, you know what to do” isn’t the most inviting greeting and doesn’t want to make you leave a message. For voicemail greetings, avoid background noise, musical or other cute messages, joke messages, and profanity.
You May Need to Delete Some Friends – Guilt by association. It happens. Do you have any “friends” who hurt your reputation? Be careful when you allow your friends to post improper comments, share links, or post pictures. When you let them do that on your accounts, it’s almost an endorsement of their behavior.
Create Positive Content -
Social media is extremely valuable – just look at LinkedIn. Post links to interesting stories. Jump into debates and conversations when it’s appropriate. Show your intelligence. Make LinkedIn connections with recruiters and join groups and alumni networks.
No Negative Status Updates, Tweets, or Rants - Sometimes, you just need to vent. We’re only human. But don’t let that come out in your status updates. Never rip into a classmate, a coworker, start arguments or spew awful things about a professor or boss. It’s tempting but it just doesn’t look good.
I know. Pretty simple, right? It is simple and it’s all common sense. Unfortunately, common sense is not always common. There are far greater things to worry about when searching for a job so don’t let these small items make you stand out for the wrong reasons.
Remember, first impressions happen before you even shake hands.
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