Comb Through Your Photos
Image via Flickr by philosophygeek
A survey of over 2,300 hiring managers revealed that of those who looked at applicants' social media pages, nearly half had rejected someone due to inappropriate photos or information. If you have pictures that depict drinking, drug use, partying, or sexually suggestive poses and attire, you should delete these immediately. Nothing presents a more unprofessional image than graphic photos of your personal life.
Update Your Profile Picture
Updating your profile picture to something that's professional is a simple step that will improve the entire look and feel of your page. Forget silly self-taken photos and opt for something that you wouldn't mind featuring on a company website. Your photo should show you as you want potential clients and bosses to see you.
Proofread Your Posts
More than a third of hiring managers who looked at social media sites passed up an applicant because of poor grammar and communications skills. If your tweets overflow with text message shorthand and slang or your Facebook and Google+ posts have blatant grammatical and spelling errors, you need to correct or delete them. You're judged not only by what you say but how you say it.
Consider the Content
The content you post is as important as the grammar. Badmouthing previous employers resulted in an immediate rejection for 33% of surveyed hiring managers. Twenty-eight percent of hirers saw prejudices about race, religion, or gender as cause to drop an applicant. The content on your social media pages should support the professional image that you want to project. Avoid controversial topics or offensive posts of any kind.
Be Very Thorough
Look over all of your social media accounts and comb through your profiles carefully. The books and movies you like, blogs you follow, and friends you have may all reflect upon you either positively or negatively. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all prime targets. While you don't need to tailor every aspect of yourself to your job, you do need to censor anything that conflicts with it. Resources like Reputation.com on Facebook can help you avoid major faux pas and present the proper image.
Understand Your Privacy Settings
Not all social media accounts are public, so make sure you understand what your potential employers can and can't see. If you still want to keep up an account for your outrageous pictures and racy anecdotes, consider doing so under a different name with a profile picture that's not easily identifiable as you.
In a world where privacy is often a thing of the past, you can never be too careful about what you put online. Assume that your boss and parents will see everything you post for the best protection from big blunders.
Mandi Rogier writes and researches regularly on many topics including business, finance, and marketing. A number of sites and blogs feature her work including eHow and USA Today's Travel Tips.
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