#InstaFail | Social Media Etiquette For Job Seekers

Used carefully, social media can be a great tool to help you land that dream job.

Though we've all been guilty of a little oversharing in our time, and what we push out to the world on a personal level can have an impact on our professional reputation.

Social media technology has given recruiters and hiring managers the ability to get to know a candidate before they even pick up the phone. So that perfectly polished CV can quickly make its way to the bottom of the pile if that Instagram post makes its way out into the world.

If you're currently on the search for a new career, it's probably worthwhile to put the coolers on your social rants and ravings for a while. Or at least carefully consider your future employers before you hit ‘post’.

A few tips...

Professional Profile

Your social media profile pic sets the first impression of you. Is that beer swigging party animal what a professional high growth brand is really looking for? Sure, you don't plan to sit in your Hunters drinking cold ones in the office, but the first perception of you will be made by your profile pic.

Remember that even if you set your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile to private, your profile picture will always be public. A recruiter searching your name online will see your profile pictures first.

  • Pick a profile picture that shows your fun side yet portrays you as a professional.
  • Go with something smiley to show yourself as a positive kind of person.
  • Leave the exposure of body parts and excess flesh for private shares with your friends.

Revisit Old Posts

A trip down social media memory lane can uncover old pictures and posts you completely forgot all about. Comb through the online gallery of brand you and delete any controversial posts that could position you in a bad light or cause offense.

  • Delete any photos that you’re not proud of or wouldn't want your Grandmother to see.
  • Un-tag yourself from pictures posted by other people that don't position you in a good light (we mean professionally, not how attractive you look, but it's worth vetting for that too if you like).
  • Remove any posts containing offensive material, even if the original post wasn't yours... resharing controversial opinions shows you endorse them.

Watch Your Language

We know, sometimes at the end of a hard day's grind, you just want to tell the world what a terrible day you've had, why you hated it and name drop all of the people that threw you under the bus. For a recruiter, this just comes across as the type of person that is unprofessional, can't handle pressure and is quick to bring others down.

  • Ditch the potty mouth. Feel free to share your humble opinions though in a mature and professional way.
  • If you're replying to others' posts online, avoid getting caught up in controversial or political debates. Yes, it's frustrating that KFC ran out of chicken, but there's no point in placing the blame or staging a brand boycott.
  • Don't be that person that posts a vague, annoying, passive aggressive status message. Your friends rarely take the time to delve into what's eating you, so a recruiter won't either. Take your rant offline.
  • Don't bash your current employer on social media. You'll simply look like a serial complainer with no grasp of confidentiality. Not exactly the ideal candidate you appeared to be on paper.

Protect Your Privacy

If your social media addiction is just too strong to allow a little digital downtime, you'll probably want to limit who sees your content.

  • Create lists in order to show specific content to different groups.
  • Anything you wouldn't share with dear Grandma, save for your close friends.
  • Don't put yourself at risk of a class clown logging into your profile and leaving a post on your behalf. The old 'oops, my account was hacked' just doesn't cut it anymore. If you can't protect your own reputation from intruders, how well can you protect the reputation of a business?

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