24 August 2012 By Northern Lights
Have you ever looked at your Facebook or Twitter profile as if you were an employer? Would you recruit yourself?
Jobhunting eBook on social media for students
We have just written an eBook, From Student to Salary with Social Media, to help students use social media in their job hunting (link to book). Employers say they do carry out Google searches on potential recruits – and what they see online does affect their decision to appoint.
Remove derogatory, insensitive comment
Claire Morley-Jones, managing director of HR180, recruits everyone from part-time staff to chief executives on behalf of her clients. She says: “We do use social media to find candidates and our clients might check out digital profiles as part of the shortlisting process. More often than not we are concerned about what we see online with content that involves salacious, ‘peeping tom’ style photos of a recent night out, accompanied by comments of a derogatory, insensitive and callous nature towards the participants.
“These reflect poorly on any candidate, demonstrating lack of confidentiality, judgement, respect for their own friends and empathy – along with poor team work.”
Are your photos professional?
Asad Ali, partner at Blacks Solicitors, said: “One lady spent a week on work experience with our senior partner. He suggested she should clean up her profile or set up new accounts, as her photos and profiles weren’t doing her any favours. The week after, she sent Chris a request to link up with him – with photos all of her going out and getting drunk. You just think ‘did you not listen or learn anything?’ Of course this will count against her in future.”
Personal digital footprint
Prof Nigel Lockett, University of Leeds: “The undergraduates and postgraduates I work with intuitively understand the power of social media but many seem to have overlooked the important role, what Northern Lights calls their ‘digital footprint’, plays in getting the job they really want.”
When you do a Google search on your name, what do you find? Are you proud of it? If you were an employer would you think ‘I’d like this person on my team’? Or did you see a bank of late night party revelling, bad language, unpleasant comments and worse?
And what could you have seen if you were an employer? Sign out of Facebook and any other sites (so Facebook doesn’t recognise you and sign you in automatically) and use another computer to do a search on yourself (in case there are any cookies on the computer you normally use that will recognise you). Then do your search. What can you see about yourself – and have you set your privacy settings?
A picture is worth a thousand words
Like it or not, people make judgements on what they see – and photos are the quickest way to present an image. The old saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ was never truer.
When an employer is recruiting, generally they are looking for reasons to exclude people from a shortlist. For most jobs, there will be dozens of candidates who fit the criteria – they can’t interview them all so they have to find a way to knock out most of them. One or two will stand out and excite an employer (and we will tell you how to do this later), but generally they are trying to get to a manageable shortlist as quickly as possible.
So you want to minimise everything that raises a question over you.
Remember that your ‘digital footprint’ – the information about you on the internet – is there forever. You can get rid of photos on your personal profiles but comments and other peoples’ photos can be extremely hard to supersede.
Banter can look obscene
Students and others use social media to play pranks on each other. They may know it is teasing but to those not in on the joke it can all look deeply offensive. Imagine you are a grandparent looking at your profiles – would they like what they see?
Are these tips helpful – let us know if you are changing anything as a result or have advice for other students. And do share this blog – and buy our eBook!
You can buy the eBook for 99p from Kindle and Apple or buy the pdf through our Facebook page. http://www.amazon.co.uk/student-salary-social-media-ebook/dp/B008MYHBVM