Your social media presence is your online identity. It can make or break your executive job search. Do future employers have the ability to search or read your social media accounts? If they do, what helps and what hinders?
A recent study has revealed that an overwhelming 70% of employers now use social media in order to screen job candidates before they offer them a position. That’s up 10% from just one year ago. The trend is rising notably. However, don’t think that you’ll be safe if you just have all of your settings set to private, or actively don’t use social media at all. 57% are less likely to bring a candidate in for interview if they haven’t been able to find them online.
Nonetheless, a majority of employers, according to the study, have opted not to recruit a candidate because of what they’ve found on their social media platforms. So you need to get your social media presence in order if you want to stand the best chance in your executive level job search.
Scare stories abound which are akin to the moralistic Grimms fairy tales of old when it comes to social media and future employers. However, whilst there’s sense in scaring a 15-year-old into not posting that dodgy picture because “a future employer will see it”, the reality is employers aren’t omnipotent when it comes to the internet. If you’ve put it out there, or something is linked to your name, they may well find it, however, but predominantly this will come down to your privacy settings.
Your employer is also not able to ask for your passwords. However, this doesn’t stop them from simply searching for you in the same way your friends would. They are also likely to pop your name, and perhaps your mobile number, into Google and see what results come up. From dating profiles to Twitter keyboard warrior moments, Google will do a great job of delivering what you want to hide.
Therefore, a good general rule is to only post or comment in a professional and appropriate way. Even if your settings are private, there’s nothing to stop someone you know sharing your post or comment and it getting into the public domain. When conducting an executive job search this is particularly important. As you scale the career ladder your actions and words will be of more interest to those in your industry and further afield. Whilst this can be positive, it can also have a negative side too.
It is also worthwhile, as you embark on your executive job search, to do some social media housekeeping. Whilst it’s true that digital footprints have no expiry date, the most likely things to come up will be active social media engagement. Therefore take some time to run a Google search for your own name, see what comes up, and see if you’re happy for a potential employer to read it. Then, go to each of your social media accounts and delete anything that you wouldn’t like a future employer seeing.
Instead of fearing social media and how a potential employer may use it, turn it around and use social media to your PR advantage. It’s an ideal way of showcasing your aptitude, skills and accomplishments. LinkedIn is a particularly excellent platform for this. If you’re respected in your field, publish articles and post reports. Comment on industry news items. Also engage with professionally important online discussions.
Finally, ensure your profile photos match the professional persona you wish to portray. If your settings are indeed set to private then your profile photo may be the only glimpse the future employer will get of who you are. Make sure it’s an appropriate one.
By being social media savvy you can ensure that your social media presence aids your executive job search rather than hinders it.
As headhunters, we’re used to networking and searching for appropriate candidates using social media sites as one of our many tools. If you need help finding appropriate candidates for your executive level position, call us today on 0203 582 2663.