For recent college graduates or those who have changed careers, finding that first job can be a real challenge. There are so many things you have to do when you're starting over, like polishing your resume, writing a cover letter that gets results, practicing your interview skills, and building online porfolios. But one thing that's often overlooked is cleaning up your social media presence.
It's a fact that these days, most employers do a web search on prospective new hires. They will look at your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and find out lots of other information about you. Not only are they checking to see if you have a criminal background or a history of poor work performance, they are also trying to find out more about who you are. They use the information to decide if your style and personality are a good fit with their company.
Knowing this, it's crucial to review your online presence to ensure that potential employers see correct information that shows you in your best light. Here are a few ways to make sure that you don't fail the social media test:
Google yourself – Yes, it sounds just a little dirty, but when you're starting a new career, it's important. Do a web search on your name, your email and use different keywords, like the city you live in or the college you graduated from. Read through the listing and don't stop at the first couple of pages. Pretend that you are an employer, looking at a candidate. What did you find? What judgments would you make about this person? If you find things you don't like, find out what you can do to get them removed. It may be as simple as taking down a few photos or deleting some status updates.
Check your Facebook – It's simple, but it's a step that many people forget. Go through your social media accounts and make sure that your privacy settings are the way you want them.
Establish a professional presence – During your web search, did you find anything that showed that you were a professional? If not, get busy making yourself a part of your desired industry. Comment on industry specific blogs and even make one of your own. The goal here is to impress a hiring manager with your professionalism and your passion for the industry.
Don't be afraid of taking a different road – You might have an ideal career path in mind, but don't allow that to scare you away from other opportunities. While you're networking, keep an open mind. A temporary job might not be your dream, but it can give you valuable experience. Even a position in a related field can help you learn new things and use your skills in different ways. Social media is a great way to explore your options in order to learn more about your industry and shape your career path.
Starting a new career is challenging and exciting. Use the passion and enthusiasm you have to fuel your job search and market yourself to new employers. You might not have the experience of someone who has been in the field for several years, but you have a fresh outlook and a positive attitude that will take you far. If you're looking for a graphical way to promote yourself, make sure to check out the Nexxt Career Portfolio, which offers quite a few customizable options.
What other things do you think are important when using social media? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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