6 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Before Applying for a Job

Landing the perfect job requires standing out above the crowd in all the best ways possible. Employers want to hire someone they believe has the right skills, experience, and ambition to help them succeed. While your resume may give them several reasons why they should choose you rather than the other eight applicants who applied for the position, your social media profile can sink your boat in no time flat.

According to data released by Zippia in July 2023, 94% of recruiters use social media, and 67% of employers search applicants’ social media accounts before hiring them for a position. Although you probably never intended to show those pictures of your freshman year of college to a prospective employer, the photos and posts you added to your social media profiles over the years have become part of your digital footprint. And unfortunately, it is next to impossible to erase it.

However, you are not doomed by your past. There are steps you can take now to improve your online appearance and showcase the budding professional you have become.

1. Use Privacy Settings

Just because you can’t erase the past doesn’t mean you must keep it on display. Facebook privacy settings allow you to decide who can see your posts and how much they can see. Check your current settings to see what you allow your friends to see and read. Making your account private can prevent a placement firm or your future boss from seeing posts only meant for your close friends.

2. Clean-up Your Contacts

If you have been active on social media for years, chances are there are more than a few people among your list of friends that you no longer keep in contact with. If you don’t know where they are or what they are up to, you probably aren’t that close anymore. You may not want to unfriend them all. Instead, you can change their status to an acquaintance. Dividing your friend list into close friends and acquaintances allows you more control over what they see and how much you see of their posts as well.

3. Go Professional

Each social media platform is unique and lends itself best to certain types of content and user interactions. You would not turn to TikTok to find a job or search “X” for a group interested in learning about AI. Professional networking will yield the best results when you use the right platform. Officially launched in 2003, LinkedIn has become the go-to place for professional networking. With a focus on education, job experience, and online learning, it is a great place to showcase your skills and expertise. The platform offers many tools for building your profile. Start by filling in information about your career goals and past work experience. You can also submit work samples and solicit endorsements from others on the platform.

4. Be Choosy

As with any social media platform, connecting with every person who sends you a request will not necessarily build your credibility or convince employers you are qualified for the job. Before you start building a network, think about your career goals. Where do you ultimately want to land? Who can help you get there? Who can you help along the way?

Add people to your network that have similar interests and goals. Include those from whom you can learn as well as those you could mentor along the way. Employers will want to see you actively engaging with people within your chosen industry. When you decide you want or need to change jobs for any reason, this network can serve as a resource for finding a position quickly.

5. Fact Check

Professional job recruiters will verify the information on your resume against other sources, including your social media profiles. When these sources don’t align, that is a red flag for them. Save yourself from the embarrassment of trying to explain these discrepancies by checking your profile against your resume and against other profiles. They should all have the same job titles and dates. You may also want to update your profile pictures so they accurately reflect you and look professional.

6. Build a Network Now

While a brand-new social media profile is squeaky clean, it does not tell potential employers anything about you. It won’t hurt you, but it can’t help either. The best time to build an online presence is long before you start hunting for a job. You can enhance an existing Facebook profile by joining groups related to your industry or other interests. Become an active participant in groups on LinkedIn. Offer your help or expertise when you can. Others will gladly reciprocate the favor if you have helped them in the past. A history of interactions with other industry professionals speaks volumes about you and your dedication to your work.

Showcase Your Best Self

When you opened your first social media account, you probably weren’t thinking about how your posts might appear to your future boss or clients. Fortunately, you don’t have to let it prevent you from reaching your potential. Cleaning up past social media faux pas and creating a clean, professional online presence is possible. You can use your social media to impress and land your dream job.

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