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How to Make Your Social Media Profiles Career Ready

Throughout your job search, it’s almost a given that hiring managers will scope out your social media profiles to get a better understanding of your personality and how you’ll fit in with the rest of the team. Although illegal in some states, this practice is not unheard of. And, it’ll likely continue once you’re hired and officially brought on as the newest addition to the team. Whether you work as an assistant in a dental office or as a technician at your local garage, your colleagues and clients may seek you out on social media. We’ve all heard the horror stories about employees revealing too much on social media, but using social media wisely can actually bring the right kind of attention your way. Here are a few ways to optimize your social media profiles for the workplace.

Check Privacy Settings

Some social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, allow you to maintain private profiles or hide certain aspects of your profile from public view. If you’re concerned that hiring managers may be scoping out your social media profiles, keep them private during the interview process. Hide any unprofessional photos from public view (i.e., that one photo of you riding the mechanical bull at your best friend’s bachelorette party) or, better yet, delete them completely. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with having a social life outside of the workplace, just remember to adjust your privacy settings accordingly. You never know who may be lurking.

Remove Shady Connections

Who you have in your network can positively or negatively affect your social media profile. Before you start applying and interviewing for jobs, take stock of your friends and connections on social media. It’s a good idea to unfriend or unfollow people who can make you look bad in the eyes of a potential employer. Imagine being tagged at an event you’d rather keep private, only to have your boss notice it and question your motives. If you’re in the habit of adding people you don’t know personally, stop doing so right away. Manage your network of connections, and don’t hesitate to remove those that do nothing to improve your online identity.

Keep Profile Pictures Professional

If your profile photo is currently a picture of you at the bar throwing back some shots, remove it ASAP. If you have a professional headshot, use that as your profile picture during your job search. If you don’t, throw on some nice clothes and ask a friend to take a flattering photo of yourself against a colorful backdrop. Even if the rest of your profile is private, hiring managers will be impressed that you’re keeping your social media profiles as professional as possible. Plus, if your picture is recent and professional, hiring managers may feel more comfortable identifying you and interviewing you in-person.

Don’t Forget LinkedIn

If you don’t currently have a LinkedIn profile, create one right away. Essentially, LinkedIn is a Facebook for business professionals, and acts as an online resume that’s easy for potential employers to find. It’s a super low-maintenance platform; all you really need to do is keep your profile updated and current. If you’re actively looking for a job, LinkedIn needs to be the social media network that you update the most. Make sure to list out your certifications, where you got your education, and any employment history you may have. As you progress in your career, don’t be surprised if recruiters reach out to you for an interview.

Think Before You Post

If you take one piece of advice from this article, it should be this. Some potential employers use social media sites to learn more about your character, and it’s best not to give something that could harm your chances of getting hired. If you absolutely have to post something, write it down first. Read it a few minutes later, or ask a friend or family member to take a look and be honest about whether or not it could be misconstrued or offensive. Throughout the interviewing and hiring process, avoid posting anything that has to do with religion or politics. Better yet, avoid these topics in the workplace, too. 

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