How to Look Professional on Social Networks

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More and more employers are viewing job candidates’ social networks before deciding whether or not to hire them. Additionally, more than a third of employers evaluate applicants’ Facebook pages, and over 92 percent intend to use social media in their recruitment efforts. With these facts in mind, you should treat your presence on social networks as an integral part of your job search. This means eliminating potentially compromising information and building up a professional image.

Start by avoiding posts and photos about things that would leave a poor impression on a potential employer. References to doing illegal drugs, profanity, posts and tweets involving sex, and poor spelling and grammar all negatively affect the majority of recruiters. Photos of people consuming alcohol do not have quite the same impact, but in one survey 47% of recruiters still reported viewing these photos in a negative light. In addition, if you maintain separate social media accounts for personal and professional use, you should always double-check which one you are logged in to before posting.

You should also craft your online profiles to look professional. Change your profile picture to one you would be comfortable attaching to a resume. For example, use a picture of you wearing conservative clothes against a neutral background. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also begin participating constructively in forums related to your field on professional networking sites.

Finally, practice good online etiquette. Avoid posting too often or posting information about your job search. Never post negative information about a previous employer, and try to be polite in all your online interactions. In general, keep your posts positive and exude an online personality that represents who you would be in the workplace. In addition, before you post or tweet anything, imagine a recruiter seeing it just before making the decision about whether or not to invite you for an interview.

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