By Gemma Morris
12th September 2012

There’s no doubt that social media has become an essential part of a recruiter’s tool box for finding and assessing relevant candidates. But this is not just an instrument of recruitment agencies - many employers, both big and small, are now implementing social strategies to find the best talent.

A recent survey by Eurocom Worldwide reported that almost one in five executives say that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person and it previously found that almost 40% of companies check out potential employee profiles on social media sites. First impressions are everything and, without a doubt, maintaining an accurate and positive social persona is vital to job success.

Here are our five tips to ensuring your social media presence doesn’t turn-off the people you’d like to connect with.

Cleanse your data

You’ve perhaps been in the same job for a while and not given much thought to who may be viewing your social media presence. Now is the time to clean up your act and ensure what the wider world can see reflects the professional persona that you want to portray. A good starting point is to search for yourself in Google and see what comes up. If you’re not happy with what you find then change it. It’s quite simple to delete and change your posts, comments, profiles, videos and images on most of the social sites, so get cracking today.

Ensure content is current

Maintaining a current profile is vital to job success because an increasing number of recruitment consultants and HR managers are searching social media sites to attain background information about potential candidates; if your profile is incomplete or out of date you reduce your chance of success.

LinkedIn is one of the most effective job seeking tools. It presents the opportunity to create a career profile of your skills and experiences and include references, which you can then invite potential employers and recruiters to view. Just ensure it’s as up to date and accurate as possible. Remember that if your profile shows 100% completeness you will come up higher on search results.

Select pictures carefully

When choosing a photo for your social media profile, ensure it reflects the impression you want to give. To some extent, suitability will depend on the sector you are looking to work in, but if you are applying for a professional job your photo should reflect this. This is particularly important on professional networking sites.

Post appropriately

Think twice before posting pictures of you clubbing or commenting when you’re angry or upset about something.  If you wouldn’t want your boss to see or read what you’re about to post then don’t post it. Many people use Facebook just for their personal life, but always make sure that you’re familiar with who is on your friends list and post accordingly. You could even consider separating out groups of people and controlling what information goes to whom.  Most of us have the odd photo or private information that we might not want our potential employers looking at, so keep your Facebook page and photos private - hiring managers might just try to have a look to check you out.

Smart word selection

Recruiters searching social media sites for potential candidates will use relevant key words, so bear this in mind when you’re writing your profiles and updates – what do you want to be found for? What industry do you want to work in? What job role would you like? Do you have any niche skills? Reflect your answers in your posts and comments to increase your chances of being spotted. 

Social media

For more tips on using social media, take a look at our other blogs in the series:-

How to get yourself noticed on LinkedIn

6 Ways to build your LinkedIn network

Job hunting using LinkedIn

How to use Twitter to find a new job

Another useful resource is the Data Quality Pro Career Guide by Dylan Jones

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