If you’re currently on the job hunt, you may have already put some time and effort into cleaning up your social media profiles. It’s a smart move: approximately 70 percent of employers admit to looking up potential employees on social media. Maybe you’ve deleted some questionable photos from that college spring break trip or started being extra careful about avoiding inappropriate language.
Knowing that companies are scoping out your online presence can make you feel like you’re under a microscope, and you might be tempted to delete your profiles or set them all to private. But with the right strategy, your social media profiles can actually help your odds of employment instead of harming them. In fact, 84 percent of companies today report that they actively recruit candidates on social media, and in contrast, 57 percent of hiring managers say they’re less likely to hire someone they can’t find on social media.
If you want to maximize your chances at landing your dream job, you’ll want to polish up your profiles. Here’s how to impress any possible employers that might be scrolling through your Tweets and photos.
Make your contact information easily available.
If you want employers to get in touch with you, make it simple: put your email address in your bio. If you maintain an online portfolio, add the link to your bio as well. Connecting your social media accounts to your LinkedIn page never hurts, either — recruiters will often contact job candidates through LinkedIn.
Share examples of your recent work.
Are you a photographer or filmmaker? Curating a public Instagram profile featuring up-to-date samples will show employers exactly what you’re working on at the moment and give them a feel for your style. Writers can run Facebook pages where they share excerpts of their essays or link to their articles through Twitter. This technique can still work even if you’re not in a creative field—you can share information about relevant courses you’re taking, organizations that you volunteer with, or passion projects that you’re working on in your spare time that show off your skills.
Follow other people in your field.
Following people in your field can be a great way to figure out what career moves they’ve made that have allowed them to succeed, and if any of them post about job openings, you’ll be the first to know! But don’t just follow the big names — if you want to make real connections, get in touch with people who don’t have thousands of followers to respond to. They will be more likely to get back to you if you reach out to them and answer your questions.
Keep your posts professional.
Show companies that you’re serious about your career by making it the focus of your profile. This doesn’t mean that you can’t post cute pictures of your pets or other personal tidbits, but you can take advantage of these platforms to demonstrate your professional interests and knowledge. Share articles about new developments in your field, comment on industry trends, and if you attend any relevant events, feel free to post about it!
Share work from others in your field.
Want to prove that you’re a team player? Start with your social media profiles. Building up a professional online presence can feel like a highly individualistic pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be all about you. Use your profiles to give other people a boost, too. Keep your comments genuine and positive. If a former classmate you graduated with gets published in a prestigious journal, share it and congratulate them. If someone you interned with a couple years ago is speaking at a conference, why not make a quick post about it and tell them which points you found interesting?
Social media can blur the line between our professional and personal lives — but when it comes to job seeking, you can leverage this to show companies that you’re so much more than what they see on your resume. Social media is just one tool that you can use to network ( something we could all do a little more of ), build your brand, and prove that you’re the right candidate for the job.
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By Jane Harkness
Jane Harkness is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. Her writing has been published on Thought Catalog, Student Universe, Pink Pangea, and more. You can check out more of her work at janeharknesswrites.com.