Gemrick’s Guide: Making social media work for you

As I look over my resume that’s been proofread by trusted editors, I mentally check-off everything else I need to cover when I apply for this open job position. I have my interview questions in hand, my interview attire looks professional as ever — but then there’s social media.

Anything a person shares online is never truly private. People who can see one’s content can screenshot and share it.

According to Jobvite‘s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, 55 percent of recruiters reconsider candidates based on their social media profile. With 61 percent of those reconsiderations being negative, social media might be something college students need to rethink and revisit.

The numbers for negative impressions run high for profanity at 63 percent, illegal drug references at 83 percent and sexual posts at 70 percent. Another thing on social media that gets job candidates reconsidered is their spelling and grammar with a 66 percent negative impression.

Google yourself

The first step for any job candidate is to Google themselves and see what comes up in the results. Twitter profiles, LinkedIn, YouTube accounts and any social media profile using a full name are likely to top the result list.

Clean up content

Most people, if not everybody, could use a bit of polishing on their social media. For Facebook especially, a good tool to use is SimpleWash. It allows users to preset their own “undesirable content” list and it will run through the user’s Facebook profile and wall.

The result list provides a clickable link directly to the post allowing users to delete their content. It’s a good tool to rid profiles of alcohol or drug references, profanity and other inappropriate language.

When it comes to photos, it’s best to delete, un-tag and remove oneself from inappropriate photos. It can range from red-flag photos from all the parties to that one happy hour with friends when only had one margarita was consumed.

With a 44 percent negative impression when it comes to alcohol-related posts, it’s best to just remove them completely.

While going through social networks, take a look at LinkedIn. Information about volunteer work or donations to charity left 65 percent of recruiters with a positive impression.

Professional experience, mutual connections, examples of work and cultural fit are also positive qualities that recruiters look for.

According to the Houston Business Journal, there is a limit to what hiring managers and recruiters can do by searching social media. The best practices for hiring managers include being upfront about social media reviews and complying with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and any applicable state laws.

However, this doesn’t give job candidates a free pass. Hiring managers are encouraged to print and store the data that disqualified an applicant in the event of potential discrimination suits and other claims.

Better practices

Get into the habit of posting positive content. With social media so integrated into daily lives, people often forget that everything put out there is available for everyone to see.

According to TIME Money, simple things like complaining about your job, drinking in a photo — even if you’re over 21 — and making fun of your boss or team can pose as a problem in the future.

Always share and post with a conscience.

Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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