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Your social media presence may be affecting your job search

In the information age, just about anything you’d like to know about can be accessed with a few searched keywords and the click (or tap) of a button. In a matter of milliseconds, you can find out about restaurants, events, and things to do around town. In the same way, someone interested in who you are (like a prospective employer) can find out a lot about you with a simple search.

In construction recruiting, employers are very keen on finding out as much as they can about a given candidate as part of their due diligence process. This early investigative work helps companies feel sure about someone they’re hiring after finding out a candidate doesn’t seem dangerous, uninhibited, or otherwise a liability.

While searching for a job, this can be either a major advantage or a disqualifier for you; ultimately, the content that’s publicly available on your social media profiles and online presence makes a difference. If you’re curious about how your social media life may be impacting your job hunt, then keep reading for a short overview of what to do and why!

Employers are looking for your profiles

Professional profiles

When an employer is researching a candidate, one of the first places they’ll look is on professional networking sites. The king of these is Linkedin, where over 93% of employers look for applicant profiles, according to the Muse. It makes sense, since Linkedin is the place where people share their career wins, big ideas, and professional aspirations. It also helps employers cross-reference your employment history and get a sense for what you did at each company.

Personal profiles

Employers don’t stop at professional profiles, however. They’re also looking for your personal social media profiles for a few different reasons. For one, many jobs require some degree of proficiency with social media in general, so well-rounded profiles on multiple sites help show an employer you know how to use the Internet. Employers are also looking for anything of concern on your personal profiles, like references to drug use (something 78% of employers consider an immediate disqualifier) or frequent posts about personal issues that may affect how you perform on the job.

Find out what’s publicly available about you

Google yourself!

Of course, the only way to know what your employer can see about you online is to see it yourself. A good first step is to do what the companies do; search for your own name on Google or any other common search engines. What shows up is what your prospective employer’s first impression of you will be, whether it’s links to your social media profiles, news articles you’re mentioned in, or a personal website you keep a portfolio of your work on.

Check your privacy settings

If your social media profiles show up in your search results, visit those pages logged out of your social media accounts to see what a prospective employer’s perspective will be. If anything you don’t want public is visible, check your privacy settings. Doing so on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is relatively easy, according to Lifehacker, since you can set past posts to private and secure your future posts in one place. You can even ask Google to remove results that show up under your name, giving you a chance to wipe the slate clean of anything embarrassing.

Clean up your online presence

Set personal profiles to private

After cleaning up anything publicly visible you don’t want everyone to see, set your personal profiles themselves to private. You can reserve these spaces for posts more important to friends, family members, and other acquaintances and use the default public spaces of your personal profile to list things an employer is interested in, like your work history, current city, and a recent photo of yourself.

Make accomplishments and qualifications public

Like many things, social media isn’t solely a potential harm to your public image. In fact, you can use social media as a tool to market yourself to potential employers. This is especially true on professional networks; having an active online presence that showcases your skills and interests in areas that relate to the industry is something that over 50% of employers look for, according to Career Builder.

On sites like Linkedin, include plenty of evidence to support your candidacy, like discussions with other people in your field, posts about your successes, and information pertaining to your career aspirations. Linkedin recruiting is also a common practice of many companies, so a robust Linkedin profile might even lead to a job offer! Your personal profiles can be used in a similar manner; make posts about your career, education, or skills public (something you can do on a by-post basis) or consider using one of the “personal” social media platforms more like a professional one with strategies like a professional-presenting Twitter account for engaging with companies and industry leaders.

Overall, your online presence has a great impact on how people in the world see you as a person, and employers are no exception. By knowing what they’re looking for, you can tailor your social media profiles for success; so take a moment to clean up your internet act, and then rest easy knowing your dream job won’t pass you up over a picture of you at a party!