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Your online presence – Why you should review this before starting your job search

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 3 Sep 2021

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If used correctly social media can be a much-needed ally in your job search, but if used incorrectly can turn against you when you least expect it. When you think of social media, what pops into your head? Is it Facebook, Instagram, maybe LinkedIn? It’s probably obvious to say that different social platforms are used for different things, but most are used to communicate with friends, family and are used for sharing things in your everyday life. You can learn from these sites and let people know what is going on in your life, but it is also very easy to overshare on these platforms. Always remember, that once you put it out onto the internet, there’s no getting it back.

It can be easy to forget about the consequences of posting too much online, especially now it is such a big part of our lives, but you can be searched very easily by prospective employers. Have you posted things you would rather not have them see?

Update your privacy settings

One of the main things you can do to keep your social media pages safe from prying eyes, is changing the privacy settings. On socials like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s a good idea to have your profile on private so only friends and family you add on those platforms are able to see what you post. You need to make sure that you are accepting requests from people you know, especially places like twitter as it’s a very open community. You never know who will be looking, so make sure you chose the right privacy settings for you.

If you have co-workers as connections on Facebook but would prefer that only family see the posts you are sharing, you can tailor your posts so only certain ‘lists’ (i.e. audiences) can see them. The only thing with this however, is that you need to make sure the settings are correct for each individual post you make, so always check before you click the publish button. Recruiters may look for you on all kinds of different sites, so if you’re job hunting, privacy settings might just be your new best friend.

Try not to share too much of an opinion

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and their own views on different things and certain topics, however, sharing these online, especially social media platforms can often do more harm than good. If you have a cause and you feel the need to shout about it, you have that right, but maybe think about the way you say things before you post. When you’re passionate about something, it can be very easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and so can others that are seeing your posts. I’'s very easy for other people to get involved with an opposing opinion and things can sometimes get a bit out of hand on the internet. People often feel empowered by the use of a screen and a keyboard, so try not to get lured in and get angry about others online. Keep civil about things if others say negative things and keep your profile clean. Sometimes, we can regret the things we say and go back to delete the ‘evidence’ but as I’ve stated above, once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever.

Take the time to make it right

There is no ‘one way’ of doing things and as you know, your job search should be entirely tailored to you. However, when using social media, it’s important to be careful with what you’re sharing and how often. LinkedIn for example, can play a key factor in your job search. You should be posting and trying to keep active in your community. Take the time to search for people, make connections, take up some LinkedIn learning and comment on other people’s posts. It’s all about the amount of effort you put in.

Your LinkedIn page might be a little basic, I know I forget to look at it some days and it should be something you are actively trying to improve every day. Make sure your work experience is up to date, share things you find interesting, check to see that the CV you have linked is up to date and try to keep civil in the community. When you are posting and commenting, make sure you are being polite. There are a lot of active recruiters using this platform and it is important to give off the right impression at all times.

The more casual platforms

Job seeking doesn’t just stop with LinkedIn, although you don’t tend to look for and apply for jobs through Twitter and Facebook, they are still very powerful tools. Before you apply for a role with a company, check their online presence. What are they posting on their socials, maybe follow them on Facebook and Twitter to see what is happening in the company? Social media isn’t just there for employers to find you, but you can find them too.

You can also use these platforms to engage with others in your industry. It may be best to not add them as friends, but you can definitely see who is getting involved with those employers’ posts. Also, Twitter is great for finding likeminded people in your industry, you can start by searching for relevant hashtags and this can help you gain access to a range of voices, opinions and opportunities to inspire you and help your job search grow.

Your presence online is more important than just your job search, it shows what kind of a person you are, so make sure you are polite at all times. It is easy to voice your opinion online, especially when it’s behind a screen, but your actions do have consequences which is why job seeking using social media can be a bit of a grey area. Make sure you are taking the necessary steps to stay safe online and remember that you have control on what other people can see.