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Tips for Cleaning Up Your Social Media When Job Hunting

Author: Gary Kitanoski

In 2015, over 90% of internet users in the UAE regularly used social media. As these statistics continue to grow, it is important that we take the time to consider the impact of our social media profiles on friends, family, and, most importantly, prospective employers. If you are applying for a job, it is very possible that the recruiters will take a quick look at your social media for an instant insight into the real you.

Most LinkedIn users keep a relatively professional tone on their profile and leave the jokes, images and profanity to other platforms. But if you thought Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. were about sharing stories and images, or interacting with friends, you were wrong. Your social media profiles are your personal branding: it’s time to think about what it says about you.

That you don’t pay attention to detail.

Do you have a half-complete profile? Are you prone to the odd typo or dropped apostrophe? Posting from phones makes you much more likely to slip into poor habits and why bother changing them? After all, it’s only social media. The fact is that poor spelling and incomplete profiles tell a prospective employer that you don’t pay attention to detail. Proof your profile, and proof again; particularly on professional networks, to make sure that you show recruiters that you are meticulous in everything.

That you drink on a school night.

That Wednesday night out with friends might have been great fun, but posting pictures of mid-week cocktails, or even worse, weekday hangovers doesn’t show you in your best light. Recruiters, not surprisingly, don’t take kindly to mid-week party animals. So, save your nights out for the weekend or, if you can’t resist that impromptu drink, try not to post it on social media.

That you are aggressive.

Most people have found themselves in a situation where they just can’t resist commenting on an inflammatory post or, indeed, writing an inflammatory post of their own. Think before you comment. Aggressive or offensive language can instantly transform your chances of employment from good to non-existent. Quite literally, one ill-thought out sentence can ruin your employability.

That you are disloyal.

As tempting as it may be to make fun of/moan about/ defame an employer, organisation or colleague, don’t. Not only could it get you in hot water with your current employers, it will most certainly imply to potential employers that you are indiscreet, unprofessional and even a trouble-maker. The Facebook moan might reward you with a gratifying audience offering comfort, insults and advice, but the costs can be high.

So how can you make sure that your social media gives the right impression? If you are job-hunting, make your social media clean-up the first thing you do:

Check your privacy settings

The quickest way to make sure that potential employers don’t see anything that portray you as anything less than brilliant, is to make sure that they can’t see anything! On all personal, non-professional social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, etc.), set your privacy so that it is completely private and can only be viewed by your friends and followers (not “friends of friends”). Make sure your profile pictures are inoffensive and keep the quirkier stuff for your secure profile!

Clean up on LinkedIn

If you have LinkedIn, or are using any other platforms, such as Google+ or Twitter to create professional links and look for jobs, give them a quick run-through to make sure that they show you in a professional light.  Make sure you have plenty of industry-specific connections, proof read recent posts or tweets to make sure they are not poorly spelt or potentially offensive, and spend some time on your profile. Be careful that you don’t make any unsubstantiated claims; while it is fine to shout about your achievements, over-exaggerating or outright lying will not be looked upon lightly by recruiters.

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