Social media: How to make your profiles recruiter-safe

It’s often easy to forget how public social media actually is…

Whether you’re a social media addict, or only use a select few sites, the way you portray yourself online could jeopardise your job opportunities.

In fact, a recent survey suggested that 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s online profile before making a decision to hire.

To make sure your online profiles aren’t holding you back, here are our top tips on how to manage your social media sites in the right way:


Get rid of anything potentially offensive

The first thing you need to do is give your current social media content a safety check, with recruiters in mind.

Even if you may feel like all of your embarrassing moments are behind you, they’re probably still visible on your profile. In fact, it’s possible that the ‘online you’ could be giving off a negative impression, regardless of how recruiter-safe your most recent posts are.

Remember that terrible photo album of you planking in 12 different places in 2012? That cringe-inducing profile picture? The entirety of your University social life? They’re still there for all to see, and they probably won’t best portray your true hiring potential.

So, view your profile objectively, as an outsider would see it, and ask yourself if it actually represents you positively. If not, consider hiding or removing the potentially inappropriate content.


Think twice before posting

If you’ve followed the previous step, your profile is now good to go – so don’t ruin it.

We understand that social media can induce the spontaneity in all of us – but it’s always best to mull over your posts before you hit the send button, and ask yourself if what you’re about to broadcast is really worth such a public spectatorship.

It probably goes without saying that anything that references alcohol, drugs, or anything illegal is a serious no-no when it comes to ensuring a recruiter-friendly profile, so avoid inappropriate statuses, photos or shared posts. This rule goes for the types of people or pages you follow/friend/like too.

It’s equally important to avoid negative references related to work or your job hunt.

Although the temptation to have a passive aggressive rant about your current employer in the midst of an argument may be strong, it will be equally frowned upon from a prospective employer’s perspective.

Remember: sending pictures or messages directly to a select group of friends is also an option.


Embrace your privacy settings

If you don’t feel as if you could deprive your friends from your witty (but possibly inappropriate) status updates, it might be worth using your privacy settings to your advantage.

On most sites, you’ll be given the option to make all or individual posts only viewable to your friends. So, tick this box, and you’ll be able to post whatever you want in the knowledge that no-one outside of your friend group will be able to see it.

However, be aware that privacy settings are often defaulted as public on new posts (or on profile and cover photos on Facebook), so be sure to customise each one if needed.

Just don’t hide absolutely everything. A lot of recruiters also want to know that you have an active online presence, and might veto those who don’t seem to exist in the online world.


Use social media to emphasise your strong points

As recruiters often use social media searching as an added step when choosing who to employ, use it as an opportunity to inadvertently sell yourself.

Some aspects of your profile could help move your application forward, and adding in background information such as employment history, qualifications, and posts/photos that give a positive and professional impression of you and your personality might actually help you get the job you want.

Accentuate your talents, skills, and interests as a way of proving you’d be an asset to your chosen employer.


Rethink who you’re following

Depending on the industry and field you specialise in, social media can be a great way to share your work, re-post articles about subjects you’re passionate about, and show a genuine interest in all things related to the type of work you’re looking for.

Additionally, on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, your followers/followees will say a lot about you.

For example, if you’ve applied to a job in publishing, and you’re following all the major publishing houses and retweeting their posts – the recruiter can be sure you’re really interested.


Remember: you’re not the only one that makes an impression

Whether it’s through tagged posts or videos, or public conversations with your friends, what others say about you could damage your reputation just as much as the things you post yourself.

Make sure you’re always monitoring what can be seen on your profile, and keep personal conversations in private chats instead.

If your friends are known to be a bit tag happy, it might be worth enabling the Facebook function that allows you to pre-approve a tagged photo before it’s seen by the entire world.

It’ll be worth it, honestly.


Still not sure where you’re going wrong? Click here to find out the top five ways social media is costing you the job.


One thought on “Social media: How to make your profiles recruiter-safe

  1. Amber Eliot - October 13, 2016 at 23:01

    Also remember that even if you think a Facebook post is set to ‘friends only’, if a friend comments on it then all their friends can see it too. That little loophole has actually lost me a job before now so be very aware of what you write in public! Just treat the whole thing as though you are writing it on a wall in public. Assume EVERYONE can see it, because despite Facebook’s so-called ‘privacy’ filters, you don’t actually know who can see it if someone else comments on it.