New research* shows that 53 per cent of students believe employers should check online profiles of people who apply for jobs with them. But it’s not just students who are at risk.
Anyone who has a social networking profile can be Googled, meaning that any information you’ve ever put online can be found, no matter how long ago you shared it.
From misjudged photos, to inappropriate tweets, one mistake could cost you the job. However, if used correctly, social media can be used to improve your chances of landing your dream job.
Rachel Harris, director of employability at The University of Law, offers these tips for using social media to enhance your job prospects:
- Review and clean up your online footprint before you start job hunting. Get a friend to Google you for a more impartial review. Check if old profiles that you don’t use anymore, such as MySpace and Bebo, can still be found.
- Whether it’s an individual or a company you want to work for, follow them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to be in the know about job vacancies. This allows you an insight into their company, and possibly their recruitment process. Knowledge is power.
- On social sites such as Facebook, you may wish to use tighter privacy settings than on professional network LinkedIn. Be particularly cautious as sites can regularly change privacy settings.
- Use options to review 'tags' before they go public and keep control over what others post about you.
- Be consistent across all of your online profiles, as employers are likely to look at more than one.
- Choose your online connections carefully. If the first impression an employer gets of you is as an acquaintance of someone with a less-than-desirable reputation, this is likely to reflect poorly on you.
- Demonstrate your interest in specific areas by following relevant individuals and groups. Twitter offers a quick and easy way to express your professional opinion, and online forums are a great way to take part in extended discussions.
Read our tips on how to master the modern job interview