Technology moves fast. Ten years ago you wouldn’t have had to think too much about your internet presence during a job search. Now, it can be the first thing your potential new boss looks up after seeing your CV. Don’t worry though, you can easily minimise risks and even use your social media presence to your advantage as a job seeker.
The big one, and perhaps the most obvious – try to avoid embarrassing yourself with your online presence. If you have social media profiles under your real name that contain any content that an employer might find objectionable or concerning, consider completely removing those posts and photos and/or locking your account. Be wary of any potentially controversial opinions you’ve expressed, any incriminating photos, and the most important one: any tweets or statuses complaining about your current or previous employer. Polls have found that this is the thing most employers have said they don’t want to see on candidates profiles.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all provide privacy settings that can hide the contents of your profile from anyone searching for you while still allowing your pre-existing followers to see it. If you’re unsure about what could be off-putting to a potential employer, err on the side of locking accounts and switching to a professional LinkedIn-style profile photo. If your new workplace turns out to be a relaxed environment where no one will take issue with your political views or party photos, you can always unlock later.
If you do have open, public accounts under your real name, it can help a lot to post about and link to industry news. If you have the free time and technical knowledge for it, writing your own blog posts or LinkedIn articles relating to both your role and wider Governance, Risk & Compliance topics will help you stand out from other candidates, and show that you’re engaged and passionate about your career and your area of expertise.
With social media checks now being standard practice for more and more hiring managers, it can make a big difference for relevant, professional content to be the first thing that comes up when someone searches for your name. Making sure that your online footprint is flattering can give you a key advantage and stop you from being screened out early in the recruitment process.