The world we live in has changed …

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           Jane Harvey

Job seekers need to be more savvy and careful than ever when it comes to social media. Gone are the days of turning up for an interview in your Sunday best, providing details of a couple of referees who would be sure to sing your praises and then turning up to your new job the following Monday!

Social media can both advance and hinder your career depending on how you use it. As the Internet and social media grow increasingly important, particularly in business, most future employers and recruiters explore candidate’s social media profiles including Facebook before making hiring decisions.

 And this is the very reason you need to be extra careful with how you use social media, how you portray yourself in this medium and how you set up your privacy. After all, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to provide an unflattering social media image to future employers.

So, before you apply for your next job, take a good look at your online presence in some of the following ways:

Google yourself

Yes, this is the first thing anyone will do to see if you are who you say you are! Search your name and see what comes up? If there is something there that you would not be comfortable with a future employer seeing … take it down or get in touch with whoever published it and request that they remove it. This is not always possible and some things will remain for a very long time … so think before you post!

Check your privacy settings

Most people think that their privacy settings are sufficient and only their chosen ‘friends’ can see what they post… but in actual fact most people allow friends of friends to view certain content and it just goes on from there. If you go into Facebook and in your profile click “view as public” you will get a better understanding of what anyone in the world can see – including a future employer. If you can see too much … change your settings and get rid of anything that may cause damage to your professional image.

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date

LinkedIn is one of the most important tools you can utilise as a job seeker or even as an employer. Often referred to as a professional Facebook, LinkedIn is your opportunity to get noticed and to stand out from the crowd, so make it work! Make sure your content is accurate and informative and that you include a snippet from your past few roles on the cover page. Make sure you keep it up to date and most importantly, include a professional and current photo, not one of you and your children or partner or best friend on a park bench or in a pub. Keep it up to date! If you don’t have it, then get it! If you are going for an interview, look at the profiles of the people interviewing you, it will show you are interested and doing research into them and their business.

 In all honesty, prevention is better than trying to fix social media disasters. Everybody has a life outside of work but photos of partying hard, can and will tarnish your professional image. If you must post, make sure your pictures are private. Future employers and recruiters do not need to see them.

Lastly, limit your work related comments on social media such as Facebook, particularly anything that may be seen as derogatory, and limit your social related comments on mediums such as LinkedIn – they are very different and you need to draw a very distinctive line between them. Open your LinkedIn profile so that almost anyone can access it, and your Facebook, Twitter etc. so that almost no-one can, and you should be on your way to that great new role without the worry of skeletons in the closet!

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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