How Not to Frighten Prospective Employers With Your Social Networks: 6 Clean Up Tips

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Did you know that Facebook might be keeping you from getting that dream job? Does it sound too crazy to be true? Well, it’s not. What you do during your free time (and what shows up on social media about your private life) can make employers or perspective employers decide that you will be a perfect fit for their companies or that they don’t want you to ever darken their doors.

Still not convinced? Well, statistics show that 91% of recruiters will screen you by looking at your social media pages, including Facebook along with Twitter and LinkedIn. You might be interested in an interesting graphic that you can find here. Here are some tips to help you give your Facebook page an employer-friendly revamp.

1)     Clean Up Your Photos

Did you post skimpy, drunk pictures of yourself from your last trip to the beach? Or did you post the crazy pictures you took at your best friend’s bachelor party? Those pictures might seem like they are fun trophies of happy days. However, an employer will look at those photos as a manifestation of an undependable and wild streak – great in a friend (sometimes), but not at all ideal for an employee. You don’t need to delete your photos permanently. Just at least create a privacy setting that will allow only you to see your photos while you are job hunting.

2)    Clean Up Your Posts

Have you posted about your sex life recently? How much you were able to drink in a night? Your last shopping spree? The state of your finances? No employer wants to know about your sex life. Really. No matter how interesting it might be. Also, no employer wants to hire someone who sounds like they drink a lot. And the state of your finances? Well, that’s just not a good thing to share with your employer either. Would you really want to share that information with your future boss? Now, maybe you are quite conservative with what you post on Facebook. Maybe, though, you have been upset with some political event recently. Did you post about it? Hide the post. Make sure that your Facebook profile displays only information and posts that you want your boss to see. A good resource to help you clean up your posts and the rest of your profile can be found here.

3)    Clean Up Your “Likes”

Now, you might think that no one ever looks at your “likes”. But they do. Especially your potential employers. Your potential bosses are very interested in what you like to read, what music you like to listen to, and what your political and religious affiliations are. These are the things that will prejudice people against you before they get the chance to hire you. Your potential boss might have really liked you when he or she interviewed you. When they look at your Facebook page, though, they might see things that turn them against you and consider another candidate for the position.  So, just clean up your “likes” a bit during your job searching days. 

4)    Don’t Look Too Religious or Political

Employers don’t want to hire people that might turn into controversial employees. This means that they are not interested in someone who swings to the extremes in either religion or politics. Someone who is going to try to convert fellow employees to a certain way of thought is just not good for the work place dynamic. In other words, a potential employer wants to make sure that you are not going to try to convert the office to mainstream Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoastrianism, Atheism, or agnosticism. They also want to be sure that you are not planning on trying to recruit the people in the office to the liberal or conservative political movements. Of course if you are trying to work for a political party, then by all means make your politics and religion known!

5)    Put an Eye to Your Grammar

Do you sound professional? Can you talk big, sound suave, and look sophisticated and professional? That is all well and good. Employers know, though, that it is easy to play a part for a while (such as the part of a hardworking, sophisticated, and suave professional). They want to know what you will be like in the long run; what you can do in the long run. If you have never discovered the edit function for Facebook posts, now is the time to discover and use it. You want professional sounding (grammatically correct!) posts on your timeline so that your future employer sees you as someone who they want to add to their company. Employers know that Facebook is a journal for many people. What does your journal say about you?

6)    Look Professional  

This is extremely important. After all, they do say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Now that you have cleaned up your profile on Facebook and you sound professional with all of your edited posts, do you look professional? What does your profile picture say about you? What do the most recent photos on your timeline say about you? Do they scream fun friend or a must have addition to the company? It is time to pick a new profile picture. One that makes you look sophisticated and intelligent (which is exactly what you are!). The photo can be a little bit fun, maybe even a little bit artsy. (A fabulous photo taken next to a famous and beautiful monument anyone?!) After all, a photo can show off your travel experience, your friendly face, your enthusiasm (its seen in your smile and eyes after all), and your intelligence all at once.

So, take the time to tailor your Facebook profile and timeline to the demands of job hunting. And after cleaning up your profile, continue to post professionally. Your effort will be met with big rewards. Happy hunting!   

Yohana Petrovic is a writer and educator. Yohana has 10 years` experience in educating and now she is a proofreader at Global Essays. You can reach her on Facebook: Yohana Petrovic or on Twitter: @YohanaPetrovic     

2 thoughts on “How Not to Frighten Prospective Employers With Your Social Networks: 6 Clean Up Tips

  1. Hello, I am a student at Southeast Missouri State University majoring in Public Relations with a minor in both Marketing and Creative Writing. I appreciate and enjoyed your article and understand the need to police some of your own social media activity when searching for a job, and have applied some of these tactics myself in the past, but there was something that struck me as a little alarming. I noticed you said you do not want to come off too political or too religious. While I agree somewhat with the political aspect, I am curious as to why you feel you should not come off as, “too religious”.. While I am not religious at all, I find myself wondering if that would be an employer someone would want to work for in the first place if they WERE religious. Have you had experience with this directly or seen it yourself? I have personally never heard of religious affiliation being something you should keep under wraps, so I am just really curious! I would love some feedback on what has led you to believe this enough to share that advice with others. Thank you, and again, great article, with beneficial information!

    1. Excellent question and insight, Chelsea. I added the religious comment since some on social media spend much of their time promoting pro-life and other points of view that may not be widely shared by others. You want to avoid raising red flags with prospective employers who may not share your points of view. I heard from one hiring manager who said he opted not to interview a candidate based on her overly prolific posting of religious commentary, and another said a prayer card was attached to an unsolicited resume. That might work if you’re applying with like-minded individuals, but can come off as alarming to others.

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