February 10, 2020

Clean up your social media before applying for a job

You’ve proofread your cover letter until it’s perfect, your CV shows off your amazing skills and you’re ready to apply for that dream job.

But did you remember to check your social media accounts? It’s not an obvious thing to think about, but people have been fired and job offers taken back because of social media blunders.

The reality is that 45% of hiring managers use social media to learn more about potential candidates. Which means you want it to be just as good as any other part of your application.

Get rid of old accounts

You may have forgotten all about them, but you never know when those old accounts will come back to haunt you. Find out what comes up when you Google yourself and you might be surprised at the time capsule you open up.

Your name might be associated with content that seemed like a great idea five years ago, but doesn’t reflect who you are today. Unfortunately, potential employers won’t know the difference.

Deleting any accounts you no longer use can save you a professional nightmare down the road, and even protect you from hackers trying to steal your personal data.

Hide or delete any inappropriate posts

Take a look at your social media accounts and delete anything that might raise employers’ eyebrows.

This includes:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or posts
  • Posts about drinking, using drugs or anything illegal
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.
  • Complaints about a previous employer or colleague
  • Posts that are overly cynical, grumpy, or mean

You might never dream of posting about any of these topics, but you don’t need to be the original creator to raise doubts in a recruiter’s mind. Think about all the memes you’ve shared – are any of them controversial?

If this all sounds a bit too sanitised for you, try hiding posts instead of deleting them. Just check your privacy settings to make sure any private material is available to view by friends only.

And remember that potential employers might not have the same sense of humour as you. If you’re unsure whether something is offensive or not, consider the ‘grandmother test’: If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see your post, get rid of it.

Make a good impression

Work-proofing your social media is not just about deleting things – you also want to add in content that shows you in your best light.

Add a smiling profile picture that comes across as friendly and open – say cheese! Your profile picture is the first thing any person visiting your page sees. And even if your profile is fully private, it’s the only thing a possible employer will see, so make it count.

Share articles related to your industry to keep up to date with the latest news and showcase your passion. Employers will be impressed by your dedication and genuine interest.

Nowadays your social media presence can make or break your job application. So treat it with as much care as you would your CV or cover letter, and your online profiles will work with you rather than against you.

And last but not least – don’t forget to register with us.

Once you’ve registered your details on BASE’s Talent Pool, we can connect you all the latest jobs from our outstanding employers.