The spring season is just around the corner, and it is time for a fresh start. Most of us associate the season with cleaning out wardrobes or tidying up around the house, but it’s also a great time to “clean” our social media. Sites constantly release new updates and career paths and skillsets often change, so now is a perfect opportunity to check up on your social media presence. Utilize the following tips to analyze your online brand and make changes, whether you’re looking to make a career change now or in the future.
Using Google is an easy way to receive a surface-level overview of your online social presence. In order to do this, learn the best ways to Google yourself (you can use this helpful graphic by Reputation Management). When you enter your name in the search engine, what pops up in the results? The content searched may be perfectly fine, but on the off-chance it isn’t, you are now aware of what everyone else potentially sees. Additionally, if you have a common name, it is crucial to differentiate yourself from all the other John Smiths in the world. A simple way to distinguish yourself would be to add your middle name or initial, occupation and/or school. Be sure to make any of these updates to your social profiles as well, that way they stay consistent. This distinction helps recruiters correctly identify your identity and prevent mistaking you for someone else.
Remain Cognizant of Site Updates
On social media sites you actively visit and engage, it is essential to remain updated on interface and feature changes to ensure your profiles are optimized. For example, LinkedIn recently updated its desktop layout and Facebook now allows you to post jobs on the website. Furthermore, features you previously relied on may have changed, or not be available anymore. On LinkedIn, the summary section of a profile is a snapshot for recruiters to gauge your interests, capabilities, and goals. Now that LinkedIn modified the site design, the summary portion only shows the first two lines of the whole section. In order to stay up to date on these changes, remain active on your social media and follow industry related blogs and publications.
Customize Privacy Settings
A painless way to clean your social media, without deleting content, is to customize your privacy settings and choose which aspects of your profiles to keep public versus private. If you’re looking for a new job, it’s important to not make it obvious to your current employer. With LinkedIn, for example, there are customizable privacy settings that prevents something like this. When you make profile edits on LinkedIn, the default option updates your network on changes you make to your profile. It is completely okay to leave this option as is, but if you are conducting a job search, adjusting this setting will keep your search less noticeable.
Update Your Profiles with Current Information
Alterations to social media profiles shows recruiters that you are aware of the new technology and are taking full advantage of the updates. Although it is important to keep up with site updates, you should also ensure your profile is completely filled out and reflective of who you are now. If you have been using the same profile picture for the past couple years, replace it with a more recent photo. It is also essential to update experiences and skills on your resume and remove information that is no longer relevant to the position in which you want to apply.
Remove Risky Content
Data from a 2016 survey found that “49% of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate.” For this reason, it is important to conduct an internal audit of your social media accounts to ensure that you are representing your brand well. Online interactions do not have to be always professional, and highlighting interests and accomplishments outside the workplace shows hiring managers how well-rounded you are. However, there may be inappropriate college photos or malicious comments on Twitter that could tarnish that. Going through your profiles and deleting this type of content is time-consuming, but it allows potential employers to evaluate your candidacy based solely on your qualifications and fit, rather than one inappropriate item.
In a digital age where things are constantly changing, it is essential to diligently manage your social media accounts even if you aren’t currently looking for a job. This spring, take the extra time to review your profiles, check your privacy settings, and ensure your online information will best represent you as a quality candidate.
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