10 Tips to Make Your Social Media Look Professional
Learn how to polish your online profiles before a job search
Social media profiles reflect our personality much better than a formal resume. Probably, this is the major reason why 70% of employers screen candidates’ social media during the hiring process. And what you’ve posted just for fun back in 2015 can work against you when you decide to apply for a corporate job. That’s why it’s so important to look through all social media profiles even before you start sending out resumes.
On the flip side, if your social media pages make a positive impression on the hiring managers, it will give you extra chances for an interview. Today’s social media guide from the top resume writers will give you practical tips for improving your personal profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
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10 tips to help your social media pages look professional
Keeping your social media professional and appropriate is important not only for landing a great job, but also for your career success in general. Professionals with strong social media presence are seen as more credible, positive and trustworthy. At the same time, keeping your online profiles professional doesn’t mean deleting everything every single photo and posting. Here’s how you can communicate your personality without turning off the top employers:
- Check out what Google knows about you
A good starting point for strengthening your social media presence is to find out what the employers see when they look up for you online. Google your name in quotation marks, and look at what kind of information pops up. You might come across the old profiles you’ve completely forgotten about or the pictures from college years. If you don’t want the pictures to be displayed in search results, you can report them. Now, you’ll need to work on all profiles that appeared in search and give them a professional touch.
- Delete pictures, posts, and comments which might be seen as inappropriate
Look through the content you’ve posted and give it a critical look. Anything that doesn’t make you look approachable and professional should go. The examples of inappropriate content frowned upon by hiring managers include provocative pictures, information about alcohol and drug use, discriminatory comments about religion or race, badmouthing former employers, etc. Everything that doesn’t show you in the best light should be either hidden or removed. Don’t limit the cleanup to the recent publications only. You never know where that inappropriate tweet from 2014 can pop up.
- Change your privacy settings
If you don’t feel like deleting those party pictures from a college friend’s birthday, make sure they are visible only to a limited circle of friends. For instance, Facebook allows making posts visible for friends or groups of friends only. As for Instagram, if it looks too casual, you may choose to make the profile private. However, note that keeping all your online presence private is not a solution. You need to find the balance between showing your human side to the hiring managers and hiding anything that might send them the wrong message about who you are.
- Look through your friends and followers
After cleaning up the content which could turn off your target employers it’s time to reconsider your friend lists and subscriptions as well. For instance, if you apply for a job in an environmentally friendly organization and their HR manager notices that you’re subscribed to tobacco companies, they’re likely to disqualify you from the competition. Weed through your subscriptions and unsubscribe from questionable pages and individuals. Also, consider unfollowing people with whom you wouldn’t like to be associated. No aspect of your online profiles should make the recruiters question your reliability and professionalism.
- Post regularly…
The above restrictions don’t mean that you should keep your online profiles blank. Just the opposite – if you share your interests and your life regularly, it lets the employer evaluate your cultural fit and understand your personality. Examples of good content types that work positively on building a professional image include posting about your hobbies, interests, cultural events, traveling, work, family, and more. For instance, you might want to share the story about how you succeeded to manage career crisis and find a new career path. It doesn’t mean that you should be adding new content daily – a few postings a month is more than enough.
- …but not too often
Sharing multiple posts every day is considered bad etiquette. Not all of your friends are happy to browse through multiple memes or cat videos to come across something really helpful. Moreover, excessive posting makes the employer assume that you spend too much time on social media and therefore are less focused on your work. Also, restrain yourself from posting in business hours. Hiring managers see the publication time under every post, and they won’t be excited to interview someone who publishes pictures from vacation during hours they are supposed to be working.
- Update your profile picture
Profile picture in your personal social media doesn’t have to be formal unless you feel comfortable with this type of self-presentation. However, be sure to upload a picture of high quality – no blurred selfies. Make sure your face is seen clearly and you look friendly and optimistic. Obviously, no beach pictures or images from your bachelorette party should be used as a profile image. If the recruiter looks up for you in social media, the picture is the first thing they’ll be evaluating in search results, so make sure yours is making the right impression.
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- Fill out your profile completely
As a rule, complete social profiles show higher in search results. Moreover, filling out all the section gives you a chance to build a professional image and make the right impression. So, don’t leave empty sections in neither of the social media profiles you have. Facebook allows you to use About section where you can add a few interesting facts about yourself. In Twitter, you can create a brief and focused bio. You might also want to add links to your LinkedIn page, personal website or samples of work there if you’re actively job hunting.
- Stay away from grammar mistakes
Just like in your resume, the shortcomings in grammar can turn off the recruiters and make your online presence look less professional. So, whether you add a signature for a picture or write a post expressing your opinion on some news, double-check what you’ve written to avoid occasional typos and grammar issues. If you post often, consider using an online spell checker such as Grammarly.com or Languagetool.org. In addition to making a positive impression on the target employers, the absence of grammar issues will help your opinions look more credible. And if you’re looking to take your proofreading skills to the next level, read our guide.
- Create a job search post (if you are unemployed)
With a social recruiting on the rise, letting your friends and followers know that you are looking for the next gig or employment can play in your favor. Consider creating a post covering your key strengths and expectations, and attach a resume, samples of work or a link to your LinkedIn page. Keep it brief – your goal is to inform your network, not to educate them on each element of your professional background. However, note that you can create this post only if you aren’t currently employed. Otherwise, it might damage your current job.
The above recommendations can help your personal social media look more professional without hiding your personality. If you look for specific advice for strengthening your professional social media page (such as LinkedIn), check out our ultimate guide here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/tips--tricks-for-professional-linkedin-profile-writing.
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