More and more employers are turning to Social Media accounts (and not your CV) when it comes to finding out more about their perspective employee. A surprising amount of companies will deny someone a job, too, if they find something they don’t like or agree with on your page, which seems pretty unfair on you; especially if you don’t have the chance to defend yourself!
‘What? That photo of me in the BBQ Rib eating competition?! It was… for charity!’
It’s becoming ever more important to clean up your social media profiles for this exact reason. Do you want to miss out on your dream job simply because you forgot to de-tag the drunken photos from your last night out? Protect yourself from snoopy employers as soon as possible so you can relax in interviews; knowing they’ll find nothing but your wonderful (industry related) statuses, your (frequent) charity work and those glorious (cultured) holidays.
First Things First: The Photos
The first thing to target is you photographs, as this is probably the first area of Facebook your potential employer will look into. The easiest way to make your profile squeaky clean for stalking employers is to set all your albums to private; meaning ‘friends only’. Not ‘friends of friends’ or ‘X network’, because there’s always the chance your perspective boss might fall into those categories. You’ll also want to keep track of your profile picture and, with the emergence of Facebook Timeline, your cover photo. Both of these images are publicly available, so make sure they are suitable. Think of it this way: if your Mum wouldn’t like it, neither will your boss.
Un-like Anything Weird
Take a look through your ‘likes’. Is there anything in there which might be considered negative? Have a think about your employer and the industry you’re heading into too, and whether any hobbies from 5 years ago might contradict your current interests. For example, if you’re trying to get a job at an environmental law firm and you once ‘liked’ a landfill Facebook page for a joke, then that may not go down so well. Or, in another unfortunate instance, if you’re applying for a job at the RSPCA and you have an entire album full of your cat with bread around its head; they might not take too kindly upon it. Think about this trivial stuff, because it matters!
Clean Out Your Friends List
Some of us really do have 2045 friends. Most of us don’t, though. Have a filter through your friends list and get the number down to a reasonable amount (the ideal number being between 80 – 300. This shows an employer that you’re not a ‘spammy social’ and that you value privacy too – which is a good quality in an employer, especially when it comes to high profile clients and customers. A good thing to keep in mind when de-friending is to ask yourself whether you’d bother to stop and talk to them on the street.
Update Your Interests
Remember in high school when you first joined Facebook? Your interests back then probably read something like: ‘I luv all ma mates and I luv shopping and music! Ma life is so mint’
It’s probably worth checking (just to be sure) that your profile reads something a little more mature now. Update your interests to things that your employer will want to find; such as charity work, training for the marathon, cultured traveling around Europe and perhaps even a gap year in Africa. Didn’t do those things? Oh well, we won’t tell if you won’t.
It’s worth putting some links to industry blogs on your Facebook too – or updating your status about a ‘really awesome’ blog post you just read. Then, as a bonus, make sure that blog post was written by someone who works at the company you’re applying for.