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The do’s and don’ts of social media during your job search

There’s no getting away from it, social media can come in handy when you’re looking for a new job. From keeping your ear to the ground for opportunities on LinkedIn, to networking on Twitter, or even finding and following companies and local recruitment agencies, such as NuStaff, on Facebook.

It’s great…most of the time.

But did you know that more and more often these days, recruiters and hirers will turn to social media to check up on you too? In fact, an August 2018 survey found that 7 in 10 employers research candidates using social networking sites during the hiring process, while 57% of those claim to have found something that gave them a reason to reject an application. 

So we thought, if you have a little time over the Christmas period, before the job hunt begins in earnest in January, it might be worth taking some time to sit down and see what your social media is saying about you. 

Start with these tips:

1.     Lock down your profiles as much as possible

It should come as no surprise that recruiters check out candidates online. Why wouldn’t they? Social media accounts can offer a goldmine of information to supplement that polished CV and cover letter to create a more ‘rounded’ view of a person. If there is a pile of applications, a little ‘digital digging’ can be a quick and easy way to begin to create a short list.

So if you don’t want your potential interviewer to be able to find out everything about you before they’ve even met you face to face, consider using the privacy settings to lock down you social media accounts as much as possible.   

2.     Think about each and every photo you share

Perhaps this one is for life not just the job search, but nevertheless. If you’re actively looking for a job it wouldn’t be a bad idea to delete anything you think paints you in a bad light. Obviously it depends on the role you’re applying for as to what is acceptable or not, but, for instance, if you’re applying to be a driver or a nursery nurse, photos of several boozy nights out each week might look a little unprofessional. 

A good rule of thumb would be don’t have anything on your feeds that you wouldn’t want your new boss to see. And keep an eye on what your friends are up to as well. If you find yourself tagged in a photo you’re not happy about, untag yourself immediately or ask the poster to do it for you. 

3.   Don’t complain about your current employer

It’s vital there’s nothing on your social media that makes reference to your current or ex employers in a negative way. Someone looking to hire you will want to see that no matter the situation you will behave in a professional way when it comes to your job. And they’ll want to know they can trust you. 

Seeing comments, or criticisms, about previous jobs or bosses will make them worry you’ll do the same in your new job. Meaning they might not be willing to take the risk on you. 

4.      Don’t share strong political or religious opinions

We’re not saying you shouldn’t support the causes you’re passionate about or defend the rights of whoever you wish. It’s just that if a new employer has opposing views, or worse finds your views offensive, you might find yourself off the shortlist before you’ve had a chance to meet face to face. Instead consider sharing such posts to only a small group of friends or inside a private account. 

Of course, there are nuances here, as you don’t want to end up working for a company whose views you don’t share. But if you feel strongly about something it’s much better to have the conversation as part of the hiring process rather than letting them jump to the wrong conclusions themselves. 

5.    Treat everyone with the respect you would in real life

Remember, it’s not just about the pictures or updates you choose to post on your social media accounts, hirers can also potentially see comments you’ve written in response to other people’s posts. So don’t be tempted to start ranting and swearing or cracking crude jokes. It may be funny with friends you’ve known for years, but on a public platform, things can be taken out of context. 

Save the banter for the pub and remember, if you wouldn’t say it to their face in front of your boss, don’t type it!

6. Try to rein in your social media use during office hours

Its’s easy to get side-tracked on social media, wasting hours procrastinating on Instagram or watching videos on Facebook. And even more so if you’re bored at work, or perhaps even winding down ready to leave. 

The trouble is, if a potential employer spots that you’re posting to Twitter regularly throughout the day, they’ll likely wonder whether you’re doing it on company time. And worse, whether you’ll be expecting them to pay you to continue your habit. 

So what should you do?

It’s not all bad, and simply being aware that recruiters and hirers might be searching for you can be half the battle. With careful thought you may even be able to use your social media profiles to boost your chances of finding the perfect role. 

Why not update your profiles to reflect your skills and qualifications and post relevant content to your feed to show you’re genuinely interested in the industry you’re applying to? When you a write longer form post, check your spelling and grammar thoroughly, and use it as an opportunity to show off your communication skills.

And don’t be afraid to post photos and videos that show you have a wide range of different interests. As long as you take note of the points above, you shouldn’t go far wrong. 


If you’re looking for help and advice to make your job search a success, why not send us an email at alternatively call FREE on 03442 645 456, we’ll be happy to chat.