Is Your Online Profile Appropriate?

Job hunting? Time to make sure your online profile is appropriate.

Social media online profiles are well used when it comes to the hiring process and reviewing potential employees. There is some information that cannot be used against anyone in the hiring process – as outlined in The Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993:

  • Sex or sexual orientation
  • Race or skin colour
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Family or carer’s responsibility
  • Pregnancy or childbirth
  • Religion or political opinion
  • National origins or ethnicity
  • Employment status
  • Being affected by domestic violence

You will notice that social media is not on that list. While someone may have information that relates to these things on their social media profile, they cannot be taken into account when hiring. The following article on the Government Careers site outlines the case for making sure that the image you portray of yourself is appropriate for the roles that you are seeking.

‘If you’re job hunting, your social media can either help you get a job or cause an employer to choose someone else.

Seventy percent of employers will check out your social media when considering you for a job, so you need to use it to your advantage. It’s important to make sure your social media showcases your skills, your work and information about you to future employers.

What’s good and what’s bad when it comes to social media?

When deciding what to post on social media you should always ask yourself “What would an employer think?” If the answer is something like “They probably wouldn’t like it.” you should reconsider posting it.

So when you’re looking for a job it’s important to make sure you have positive social media. Doing things like setting up a professional profile on job networking sites like LinkedIn and having a website or online CV that shows off your skills and talents can help you get a job.

Six steps to clean up your social media

1. Check the privacy settings of all your social media accounts

Go through your social media profiles and check your privacy settings to find out who can see what you post. It’s also a good idea to make sure that photos other people tag you in aren’t automatically added to your page or profile.

2. Create a professional digital profile or CV

When you’re job hunting a good way to clean up your social media is to create a professional digital profile or CV that shows off all your talents, skills and experience – such as a blog, website or professional Facebook page.

It’s important to have at least one professional social media profile, such as a LinkedIn profile, as these types of websites show up near the top of search results. Plus, they show off your skills and talents to employers.

3. Get rid of old social media accounts

Do you have an old social media account sitting out there that you’ve forgotten about? Save what you want from it and shut it down. You probably don’t want an employer stumbling across it and seeing your embarrassing photos from two years ago.

4. Search for yourself

Go to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other search engine you can think of and search your name to see what comes up.

If something shows up you want to be removed, go to the website it’s on and delete it or ask the website owner to remove it. If you can’t do that, you can ask the search engine to remove the search result.

5. Make sure everything is up to date

Check through all your social media profiles, especially for sites like LinkedIn, and make sure everything is up to date and accurate.

6. Check your settings and digital profile regularly

Once you’ve checked your privacy settings, tidied up your social media, and set up a professional digital profile or CV it’s important to regularly check your settings and search for what comes up about you online. That way if anything shows up that you don’t want an employer to see you can sort it out quickly.’

By undertaking this rigorous checking of your social media accounts, not only are you making sure that recruiters and prospective hirers see no ‘red flags’, you are also opening up the opportunity to be shoulder-tapped for potential roles. Your on-line profile can be a very useful tool and provides employers a good sense of you and what you could bring to a job and their company.

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