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Job seekers: Proof your social media right now

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Your CV is sparkling. You’re pretty sure your interview game is strong. But could your social media accounts get you cancelled before you land the job? Now’s the time to proof those accounts.

It’s well known that most companies screen candidates’ social media during the recruitment process. And research shows that 57% of potential bosses have rejected candidates because of what they find.

You need to make sure that what appears online, although still genuinely reflecting who you are, is also an asset to you and not something that prevents you from progressing your career. That’s true even when you’re working with a recruitment consultant to find you a job.

What employers screen for

Employers won't expect you to be perfect. We're all human after all. But when they run checks, employers and recruiters look for anything that could be considered red flags. They want to be sure that you're not going to be a problem employee and that you'll fit into their company culture.

Absolute no-nos include posting or sharing:

  • Photos or videos of drug use
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Any post that shows violent or cruel behaviour
  • Confidential information about a former employer

Those wild party pics or that spate of angry rants on your pet peeve that you posted 2 years ago? You might decide they should be set to "private" at least while job hunting. 

Scour your social media footprint

It's not all about hiding things that could embarrass you. Maybe you publicly posted something intensely personal and checking through now is when you can adjust that privacy setting.

As you proof your social media, you might be surprised at what you find. It’s easy to forget the kinds of posts you were making even just a year ago. Try to put yourself in the mindset of an employer and see what these posts would convey to you about a potential employee.

You don’t want to miss out on your dream job because something you posted when you were younger doesn’t fit who you are today. If you cringe about things you posted in the past, it might be time to remove them.

Links to help edit your social media

Start by searching your first name, surname and email address in Google, and see what comes up. Then take a look at what's public on your social media profiles. When you find content that, now you're job hunting, you'd prefer to be private or eliminated entirely, follow these directions:

Make your privacy settings bespoke

Think carefully about the privacy settings on your social media accounts.

You want to stay visible on Linkedin as it’s the number one place potential employers will look at your public persona. It’s also a great way to present a professional picture of yourself. For more on that, read our guide on how to make LinkedIn work hard for you.

Twitter is also a good way to put forward your professional side. For this you’ll need to make sure that your tweets are public by default. But you’re probably far more likely to post personal content on sites like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. So, it could help to make these accounts private.

Beware 2022 social media rage

We’re living in uncertain times and there’s a lot to feel concerned about right now. But if you’re looking for a job and want to be taken seriously as a potential employee, it's a good idea to reconsider posts that resulted in intense online arguments for instance.

You want your social media to showcase your best professional self but you also want it to be authentic. When proofing your social media, you don't need to completely sanitise your life. Just make sure there's nothing publicly posted that you find embarrassing or that could be horribly misinterpreted, now you look back on it.

Our advice? Aim to build a positive online presence from now on, and proof your social media before a potential employer does.

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