In a survey of over 770 people, 36 per cent did not think an employer would look at their profiles, and so made no changes to their social media habits when looking for a new job. Over half of respondents said they change their privacy settings when job searching, eager to make sure that personal information does not influence their chances of success in finding a new job. Going one step further, one in ten of those surveyed admitted editing content and untagging photos of themselves posted online when looking for a job.
Mark Sheldon, Regional Managing Director at Hays says: “While the majority of people are taking sensible steps to protect their privacy online when looking for a job, it’s worrying to see that so many people don’t recognise the potential pitfalls associated with social media use. Used well social media can be a valuable tool for job hunters, but employers are looking for someone who stands out for the right reasons.
With more employers now using social media and online channels for recruitment, the importance of managing your online footprint is not going to diminish. While no employer should make a hiring decision based entirely on what they see online, it’s now extremely easy for an employer to find out an incredible amount of personal detail about you with just a quick search. Making sure your private profiles stay that way will avoid distracting an employer from anything other than the task at hand of assessing your suitability for the job.”
Five tips for social media success:
- Start now: building up a network of contacts and a strong online profile takes time, so add new contacts and achievements all the time, not just when job hunting
- Join the debate: getting involved with industry groups and discussions on LinkedIn can illustrate your interest in your industry and help you make useful connections
- Keep up-to-date with privacy settings: don’t get caught out by changes that could make your information more public thank you expect
- Think about what you share, and where: a funny video might appeal to your friends on Facebook, but may not sit well with professional contacts
- Be honest: don’t fabricate or exaggerate job titles or length of service online, you can easily be caught out by a quick search