Jakob Longer is a Student at Latrobe University Bundoora, Australia and a Real World contributor.
When friends, employers and potential dates glance at your online social profiles, what do they see?
We all are familiar with how big the world of social media has become and how it can be possibly the greatest attributer towards procrastination on the planet. Studies now place social media in pole position, overtaking porn as the greatest time waster on the web! But one must ask, post the hours and hours of time spent editing personal info, scanning photos and tweeting what you’re eating for breakfast…
What does your social profile actually say about you?
As job hunting is becoming more and more competitive, employers are now resorting to unsavoury methods to obtain that full “profile” of you. No longer can we solely rely on a exceptional CV and a cover letter to secure that flashy job that will fill our pockets straight out of University.
Social profile scanning is being used in just about all areas of recruitment in modern society. 2011 research shows that ‘over 80% of companies use social media for assistance in recruitment’. I can safely bet my left shoe on the fact that your next interviewer, assuming he/she can locate the power button on their computer, will try to look you up online.
Employers are essentially using your profiles to cross check and confirm all information given to them in your CV. Not only that, its human nature to judge one-another, so you can bet on that your profile will be scrutinized for any racial slur, derogatory remarks and/or inappropriate pictures.
How it's actually used in professional recruitment
I have been working for a financial planning company based in Melbourne for the past three years. Upon hiring 2 new administration staff last fall it was my task to (and I quote) “track down as much dirt on the applicants as I could before their second interview”.
Not only was I screening everything on their CV’s with Facebook profiles, Google+ accounts and Linked-in profiles but I was looking at their pictures, wall posts, and any information available to me. It was my job to essentially provide our management team with a sense of ‘what type of person you are”. So the question goes,
Do you see what I see when looking at your online profile?
Hints and tips
Plain and simply I have included some statistics for your benefit so that hopefully you too won’t have your polished CV and cover letter finding itself laying at the bottom of that all too familiar trash can.
1. “Over a third of job seeking applicants social networking profiles proved they had lied about their qualifications on their CV”.
2. “13% claimed that a potential employee had made discriminatory comments on their Facebook page.”
3. “9% said provocative or inappropriate photographs had been posted on the account.”
Now as alarming as these results are, here are 4 recommendations to elude those inquisitive employers:
Number 1. Don’t exaggerate or lie on your CV!
Your going to have a better shot at the applied position given your employer doesn’t think your full of shit! Work with what your good at and clearly highlight your strengths and qualifications.
Number 2. Set your Facebook and other social networking profiles to private.
From personal experience there were way too many applicants that had their security settings set to full public viewing. If you fall under this category you’re just asking to be judged on all accounts!
Number 3. Keep your inappropriate photos for private collections.
A simple word of warning yet so many job hunters forget. Your photo is the first thing an employer will search for. A photo of you doing a keg stand or flashing a bit of skin is likely to have adverse effects on your job application.
Number 4. Create a Linked In account.
If you don’t already have one, get one! Invest a small slice of your time creating a quick profile and attach a link in your CV. It represents a more professional profile as opposed to the other social networking websites and removes the need for further digging by potential employers.
For anybody who is serious about stepping into the daunting world of job-hunting, learn from others mistakes and avoid becoming a mere statistic. Just remember, the job hunt has changed. Stay one step ahead and realize that employers will most likely do their research on you. Expect that your drinking habits, sense of humour and your friends you associate with will all be placed under the microscope.
As a final word of warning from someone who has been both under the microscope and looked through it, take note of what employers ‘will’ look for and cater your online profiles towards them.
Remember it is human nature to judge, but it is what you do next that counts.