It’s a standard piece of job seeking advice in the digital age: clean up your social media before you apply for that new role.
But according to Hays regional director Eliza Kirkby, speaking to SEEK, there are still three key social media blind spots that are tripping up job hunters – and it’s not just about what you post.
Here’s what could be impacting your chances of landing the new job:
1. Discrepancies in your job history
Hiring managers are weeding out candidates from shortlists if discrepancies are spotted on online profiles. An example is if there are short gaps or contracts that show up on profiles such as LinkedIn or SEEK that aren’t accounted for on resumes that employers are starting to spot.
So even if you get an interview, you could still be asked about the discrepancy, Kirkby said, and the worst-case scenario is you’re removed from the shortlist.
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2. Posting inappropriate material
And it’s not just what you’d normally consider to be inappropriate, such as pornographic, racist or sexist comments or images, but how you conduct yourself and come across in your communications.
So, for example, if you’ve written scathing, rude or harshly worded comments to a business or company that provided you with poor service, those posts are on social media for all to see – including prospective employers.
3. The timing of your posts
Yes, really. It’s not just about the ‘what’, but the ‘when’ of your pots – Kirkby recalled instances where a hiring manager decided not to employ an otherwise good candidate because of the volume of social media posts during work hours.
“The employer might have a question mark around their focus,” she said.
Tips to use social media to your advantage
Instead of having your social media work against you, make it work for you instead:
1. Create a positive brand
Your social media contributes to your personal ‘brand’, so make sure your social media posts put you in a positive light. In your posts, display thought leadership in your industry and ensure all your images and posts look and sound professional.
Of course, if you want to use social media for personal purposes, you can connect with business associates on your professional account and keep your personal account private.
When preparing for your interview, it doesn’t hurt to brush up by looking at the social media accounts of the organisation and your potential employer. In this way you’ll be able to discover shared values or contacts between yourself and the organisation and think of good questions or talking points.
But don’t overdo it – don’t send friend requests to your potential manager on social media before you’ve secured the job, Kirkby warns.
So before you hit "send" on your next post, think twice – and go back on any posts you’ve made in the past that you might have second thoughts about.
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