Over the years, I have been involved in hiring processes from multi-step interviews, panel interviews, phone interviews, video conference interviews, etc. One consistent thing about each of these interviews is that I had looked at their social media profiles, or looked for them before they ever walked through the door.
Through Touvus, as a part of our social media management package, we manage when a client has a job posted online. We try and pre-screen resumes and applications submitted through social media. So we see them all. And that means we have seen it all.
It is clear that there is a lack of awareness when it comes to social media and job hunting. So we've put together a few helpful tips to make your online presence more appealing to potential employers.
And let's be clear, these aren't just your young twenty-somethings or teens looking for a first job. There are many "seasoned professionals" who could use a social media overhaul.
Keep it Clean and Free From Politics
This should be common sense, but it bears repeating. And clarification. Make sure any public information, including photos across all of your profiles, passes as clean or unoffensive.
These transgressions aren't limited to profanities and party pics; you should remove posts and articles that are politically divisive or could be considered offensive. We also suggest removing things that are for lack of a better term, really weird.
Do you have countless memes about hating your job or drug use? Those send up HUGE flags to potential employers.
As stated above, these rules aren't only for millennials or gen z offenders. Retirement age continues to climb, and people are working longer into more advanced ages. So it only makes sense that the job market is a broad mix of generations. Sharing "fake news" or forty or fifty motivational posts a day on your profile may seem like a great way to motivate your friends. Still, to a potential employer, it says you have too much time on your hands, or you don't pay attention to details.
When Possible Use Your Real Name
As much as possible, use your real name. I know some of us are saddled with profile names that we created in the 8th grade, but when you can, try to use the name you are applying with on your resume. This both looks more professional and means that people will be able to find your profiles when they search for your name. If you have a common name or often go by a nickname, at least choose a consistent name you'll use across platforms, and try to have your real name somewhere on each account.
You Don't Need an Account on Everything
Being "active on social media" doesn't mean opening an account on every platform possible. Quite the opposite! It's much better to have a well-crafted, up-to-date account on one or two platforms than to have a bunch of accounts that haven't been updated in years.
Get a LinkedIn profile. What was once a laughable platform that your out-of-touch co-worker kept hyping five years ago has now become a massive tool for helping you set a professional presence online. LinkedIn account and a Facebook or Twitter show that you're a real person is a significant step when employers are trying to add members to their teams. (If you think they aren't looking, you're wrong.)
Stay on Message. Keep Your Image Professional and Consistent
You should have a clear, friendly, recent, and appropriately professional image to use across all platforms. Not sure what "appropriately professional" means? Take a look around at what the people in your industry are wearing to see how competent, influential, and friendly your photo makes you look.
Learn how to Brand Yourself
In addition to a consistent name and consistent photo, you should have a consistent brand across your social platforms. You want people to know who you are, what you do, and where you're going.
Don't Use it for Follow Up Professional Communications
There are mixed opinions on using social media for professional communications at all. But we feel like most of that is outdated. You can apply for a job on facebook or LinkedIn, why wouldn't you use it to communicate? But there is a line. DO NOT message companies you're applying to on Facebook to check on the status of your application or when following up with recruiters after an interview on personal profiles.
Do Your Research
If you're active on social media, be proactive. If you are thinking of applying for a job at a business, go and look at their social media. Check their employee reviews on sites like, indeed. While employers shouldn't go in blind, neither should you.
If you like a company enough to work there, you should like them enough to follow them on social media. Some employers may not buy it when you talk about how much you love their company, but you don't even follow their Instagram. It may seem like an exaggeration, but people have been edged out for positions for a lot less.
The job market can be tight. Take steps to make yourself stand out.